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Full text of "A journal of voyages and travels in the interior of North America : between the 47th and 58th degrees of N. lat., extending from Montreal nearly to the Pacific, a distance of about 5,000 miles : including an account of the principal occurrences during a residence of nineteen years in different parts of the country"

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Sigmund Samuel Canadiana Gallery, 

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History of the Expedition Under the Command 
OF Captains Lewis and Clark tc the Sources 
OF THE Missouri, Across the Rocky Moun- 
tains, Down the Columbia River to the 
Pacific in i 804—06. An unabridged reprint of 
the 1 8 14 edition to which all the members of the 
expedition contributed. With portraits and maps. 
3 vols. 

This is the only convenient, complete and inexpensive edition of the 
most famous exploration in American history. 

Voyages from Montreal through the Continent 
OF North America to the Frozen and Pacific 
Oceans in 1789 and 1793. With an account of 
the Rise and State of the Fur Trade. By Alexander 
Mackenzie. With portrait and map. 2 vols. 

The History of the Five Indian Nations of Can- 
ada which are Dependent on the Province of 
New York, and are a Barrier Between the 
English and the French in that Part of the 
World. By Hon. Cadwallader Colden. With 
portrait and map. 2 vols. 

The Wild Northland. Being the Story of a Winter 
Journev, with dog, across Northern North Amer- 
ica. Bv Gen. Sir Wm. Francis Butler, K.C.B. 
With portrait and route map. i vol. 

A JOURNAL OF Voyages and Travels in the Inte- 
rior OF North America. By Daniel Williams 
Harmon. Portrait and map. i vol. (Just ready.) 

In size the volumes are a small i2nio., bound uni- 
for July in decorated linen. Portraits i?i photogravure. 
Price $[.00. net. per volume. 




and TRAVELS in the INTER- 

Between the 47th and 58th Degrees of N. Lat., 

extending from Montreal nearly to the 

Pacific, a Distance of about 

5,000 Miles 











GEORGE N. MORANG & CO., Limited 


Copyright 1903 
By A. S. Barnes & Co. 

November 12. 




The world is very considerably indebted to 
various servants of the great North West Fur 
Companies, not only for the valuable and 
useful furs they have obtained for us, but for 
the different kinds of wealth they have gar- 
nered in the guise of accurate and scientific 
knowledge regarding- the wild inhabitants, 
the fauna, flora, and the geographical con- 
figuration of the immense wilderness in which 
their lives for the most part have been spent. 
The debt is none the less because many of 
these men were obliged to undergo great 
hardships in their business — cut off for years 
from all civilized society, and compelled, if 
human companionship must be had, to be 
content with the company of the aboriginal 
savages of the country. Some of these lonely 
waifs occasionally varied the monotony of 
their regular employment by studying the 
strange land and its people and writing down 
the results either for the benefit of friends in 
the far-away home, or for a still widerconstit- 
uency, or from sheer lack of anything more 
congenial to occupy their, leisure liours. At 
all events, whatever the motive might have 
been, the literary world "has been made the 


richer by a number of well written books 
of great value, on account of the minute and 
painstaking care the}- display in describing 
the denizens of a hitherto unknown world. 
The Indian and his country are displayed 
before us; the languages, the folklore, the 
habits, manners and customs of an alien peo- 
ple have received patient attention; and all 
this has been accomplished in the intervals 
of long sledge and canoe journeys into the 
pathless solitudes of the North West. 

Among the books which had their origin in 
some such way as this, the journal kept for 
a number of years by Daniel W. Harmon of 
the North West Fur Company ranks very 
high. Harmon spent nineteen years of his 
life in the service of the Company, eight 
years of which were passed beyond the Rocky 
Mountains, and between them and the Pacific 
Ocean. WTien he first came among them the 
Indians still wandered through the country in 
their primitive simplicity, unconscious of the 
existence of other human beings save them- 
selves. He passed his life among these sav- 
ages. He even took a wife, ad interim, from 
one of the tribes and lived with her until he 
forsook the country forever. He was there- 
fore in a good position to study the people 
from a very near standpoint. 

Along with these valuable ethnographical 
studies are interesting details respecting the 
proceedings of the North West Company and 
the geographical configuration of the several 


parts of America in which its establishments 
are situated. Harmon held the position of a 
partner in that Company, and was Superin- 
tendent of all its affairs beyond the Rocky 

The Journal was written from day to day 
among the wild people and the scenes he 
described. The account is a plain, unambi- 
tious narrative and is, all things considered, 
entitled to implicit credit for veracity. It is 
only fair to state, however, that Field gives 
some color to the suggestion that Mr. D. 
Haskell, who revised and published the work, 
introduced some religious reflections into it 
not made by the Author. Certainly such pas- 
sages look verj' strange in the same book 
with Mr. Harmon's confession of his reasons 
for accepting female companionship. This 
confession is worth quoting here : " This 
day," he writes, "a Canadian's daughter was 
offered to me; and after mature considera- 
tion concerning the step I ought to take, I 
have finally concluded to accept of her, as it 
is customary for all gentlemen who remain 
for any length of time in this part of the 
world to have a female companion, with 
whom they can pass their time more socially 
and agreeably, than to live a lonely life as 
they must do if single. If we can live in 
harmony together my intention now is to 
keep her so long as I remain in this uncivil- 
ized part of the world." 

This was hardly the unselfish view of the 


marriage state, one would naturally con- 
clude, and scarcely in harmony with Christian 
precepts. The consequence of this remarkable 
state of affairs was that the North West Fur 
Company became responsible for the main- 
tenance of hundreds of women and children 
whose natural protectors had deserted them, 
left the country and returned to civilized 
society. Field, who was no mean authority, 
also believed that the two subdivisions en- 
titled, "Account of the Indians Living East of 
the Rocky Mountains," and "Account of the 
Indians Living West of the Rocky Mountains," 
are written by another hand, although per- 
haps dictated by Harmon. 

A very valuable feature of the Journal is 
the copious vocabulary of the Cree or Knist- 
enaux Indians. 

It is rather strange that very few biogTaph- 
ical details are extant regarding an author 
whose repute has been steadily growing for 
so many years. He must still be judged 
almost entirely by his book, of which, fortu- 
nately for the author, the critics long ago 
unanimously decided that the work had been 
worthily performed and most of the facts 
therein cited uncontrovertible. 


New York, January, 1903. 



TJAVING prepared the following work for 
"*■-*• the press, I have a few things to say 
respecting it, and the part in regard to it, 
which I have performed. 

The authour of these Voyages and Travels, 
had no thought, while in the N. W. Country, 
of making publick his Journal. It was com- 
menced and continued, partly for his own 
amusement, and partly to gratify his friends, 
who, he thought, would be pleased to be 
informed, with some particularity, on his 
return, how his time had been employed, 
during his absence. When he returned to 
civilized society, he found that curiosity was 
awake, in regard to the state of the country 
which he had visited ; and the repeated ques- 
tions, relating to this subject, which he was 
called upon to answer, together with the 
suggestions of some persons, in whose judg- 
ment he placed much confidence, that such a 
publication might be useful, first determined 
him to commit the following work to the 


Had he carried into the wilderness a greater 
stock of general information, and expected, 
on his return, to appear in this manner before 
the publick, his inquiries would undoubtedly 
have been more extensive, and the result of 
them would be more satisfactory, to men of 
science. Had literary men been in the habit 
of traversing the regions which he has visited, 
he would have left it to them, to give an 
account of them to the publick. Having re- 
mained nineteen years in the interiour of 
North America, without visiting, during that 
time, the civilized part of the world, and 
having, many times, changed the place of his 
residence, while there, he has had an oppor- 
tunity for taking a wide survey of the coun- 
try, and of its inhabitants; and if the infor- 
mation which he has collected, be not equal 
to his opportunities, it is such as no other 
existing publication will fully afford. 

McKenzie's Voyages give some account of 
a considerable part of the country which is 
here described. His residence in it, however, 
was much shorter than that of the authour 
of this work, and his personal acquaintance 
with the different parts of it, was much more 
limited. It is not intended, by this remark 
to detract from the reputation, which that 
respectable traveller and his work, have de- 
servedly gained. By his toilsome and dan- 
gerous voyage to the North Sea, and by 
leading the way, through the Eocky Moun- 
tains, to the Pacific Ocean, he has richly 


merited the commendation which he has 
received. By comparing the following work 
with that of McKenzie, it will appear, that, 
though the geographical details are less 
minute, the country surveyed, if we except the 
voyage to the North Sea, which is wholly 
out of the sphere of this publication, is con- 
siderably more extensive; and the informa- 
tion, in regard to the inhabitants, is much 
more particular. Considerable additions are 
here made, to the existing stock of geo- 
graphical information, particularly as it re- 
spects the country beyond the Rocky Moun- 
tains. The basis of the map, here given to 
the publick, is that of Sir Alexander McKen- 
zie, drawn by Arrowsmith. That map has 
received many corrections, and to it many 
important additions have been made, by the 
authour of this work ; so that it is presumed 
now to be the most correct map of the in- 
teriour of North America, which has ever 
been published. 

Literary men have recently taken much 
interest in comparing the different Indian 
languages, spoken on this continent, with 
each other, and with other languages, par- 
ticularly with those anciently spoken on the 
other continent. A very considerable vocab- 
ulary of the one which is spoken, with a 
little variation of dialect, through the long 
jbract of country, from a little back of Mon- 
treal to the Rocky Mountains, and one less 
extensive of the principal language spoken 


beyond it, are here given. Sir Alexander 
McKenzie has given a vocabulary of the first, 
which will be found, on comparison, to be 
somewhat different from that, which is con- 
tained in this work. Two reasons may be 
assigned for this. In the country about the 
Athabasca Lake, where McKenzie principally 
resided, the Cree or Knisteneux language is, 
in some measure, a mixed dialect ; and it is 
far less pure, than that which is spoken by 
the inhabitants of the plains. The words, 
also, are spelled by McKenzie, much accord- 
ing to the French sound of the letters, which 
is frequently calculated to mislead an English 
reader. Thus, the name of God, or the Good 
Spirit, which McKenzie spells Ki-jai-Manitou, 
is here spelled Kitch-e-mon-e-too. The above 
remark will account, in a great measure, for 
this difference; and for that which will be 
found, in the spelling of many other words. 
This is the native language of the wife of 
Mr. Harmon, (for so I may now call her, 
as they have been regularly married) and 
great pains have been taken to make this 
vocabulary correct, by marking the nice 
distinctions in the sound of the words, as 
derived from her repeated pronunciation of 
them. With this language he is, also, well 
acquainted, since it has been daily spoken 
in his family, and by himself, for many 

The education of the authour of this work 
was not classical; and had it been more ex- 

PREFACE. . xiii 

tensive than it was, a residence for more 
than half of his life, since he has arrived to 
years of understanding, in a country where 
the English language is rarely spoken, would 
have poorly qualified him to give to this 
publication, a suitable English dress. 

The editor undertook the business of pre- 
paring this work for the press, with some 
reluctance, arising from the shortness of the 
time that could be allowed him for the per- 
formance of it, and the numerous avoeations 
of the gospel ministry, which would leave 
but a part of that time at his own com- 
mand. For undertaking it at all, in such 
circumstances, his only apology is, that, in 
the opinion of the authour, there was no 
other person, conveniently situated for per- 
sonal intercourse with him, who would be 
willing to undertake it, whose circumstances 
would be more favourable. It is by the par- 
ticular request of the authour, and not be- 
cause I suppose that I have performed the 
office of an editor, in a manner creditable to 
myself, that I have consented to connect my 
name with this publication. 

The following work was furnished to my 
hand, fully written out ; and though I have 
written it wholly over, I should have been 
much better able to satisfy myself, with re- 
spect to its style, if I could as fully have 
possessed the materials, in the form of notes 
and sketches, or by verbal recitals. Every 
man's own mind is the mould of his Ian- 

xiv • PREFACE. 

guage; and he who has attempted to vary 
that of another, if he be at all accustomed 
to writing, must have found the task more 
diflBcult than original composition. The 
style of this work is not properly my own, 
nor that of Mr. Harmon, but something 
between both. 

There is one subject, on which I wish 
especially to address a few remarks, through 
the medium of this preface, to the christian 
publick, and to all who feel any regard for 
the welfare of the Indian tribes, whose con- 
dition is unfolded in this work. As Mr. 
Harmon has returned to the interiour of 
North America, and, therefore, the obser- 
vations which follow, will not be submitted 
to his inspection, before they are made pub- 
lick, the editor alone must be made account- 
able for them. 

In surveying the widely extended trade of 
the North West Company, we perceive evi- 
dence of an energy and perseverance, highly 
creditable to the members of it, as men of 
business. They have explored the western 
wilds, and planted their establishments over 
a tract of country, some thousands of miles 
in extent. They have made the savages of 
the wilderness tributary to the comforts of 
civilized society ; and in many instances, they 
have exhibited a surprising fortitude, in ex- 
posing themselves to hardship and to danger. 

The souls of the Indians are of more value 
than their furs; and to raise this people in 


the scale of intellectual existence, to sur- 
round them with the comforts of civilization, 
to rescue them from the gloom of supersti- 
tion, to mould their hearts to christian 
kindness, and to cheer their dying hour with 
a well founded hope of immortal glor^^ and 
blessedness, constitutes an aggregate of good 
sufficient to call forth exertion for their relief. 
The time is rapidly coming, when christian 
benevolence will emulate the activity and per- 
severance, which have long been displayed in 
commercial enterprizes ; when no country will 
remain unexplored by the heralds of the 
cross, where immortal souls are shrouded 
in the darkness of heathenism, and are per- 
ishing for lack of vision. The wandering and 
benighted sons of our own forests, shall not 
be overlooked. They are not a race aban- 
doned by God, to inevitable destruction; 
though the idea has, strangely, gotten pos- 
session of some minds. In proportion to 
the efforts which have been made, perhaps 
no missions to the heathen have been 
crowned with greater success, than those to 
the American Aborigines. To this fact, the 
fruit of the labours of Elliott, of the May- 
hews, of Brainerd, of the Moravians, and, 
especially of the recent establishment among 
the Cherokees, will bear abundant witness. 

The Indian tribes, whose condition is un- 
folded in this work, have claims upon chris- 
tian compassion ; and some facts, which the 
authour has disclosed to me, have led me to 


suppose, that a missionary establishment 
might be made, with reference to their in- 
struction, with a fair prospect of success, and 
with less expense, than ordinarily attends 
such operations. 

In the numerous establishments of the 
North West Company, there are from twelve 
to fifteen hundred women and children, who 
are wholly, or in part, of Indian extraction. 
Women have, from time to time, been taken 
from among the Natives, to reside in the 
forts, by the men in the service of the Com- 
pany ; and families have been reared, which 
have generally been left in the country, when 
these men have retired to the civilized parts 
of the world. These women and children, 
with a humanity which deserves commen- 
dation, are not turned over to the savages ; 
but they are fed, if not clothed, by the Com- 
pany. They have become so numerous, as 
to be a burden to the concern ; and a rule 
has been established, that no person, in the 
service of the Company, shall hereafter take 
a woman from among the Natives to reside 
with him, as a sufficient number, of a mixed 
blood, can be found, who are already con- 
nected with the Company. There are, also, 
in the N. W. country, many superannuated 
Canadians, who have spent the flower of their 
days in the service of the Company, who 
have families that they are unwilling to 
leave; and having nothing to attract them 
to the civilized world, they continue under 

PREFACE. xvii 

the protection of the Company, and are sup- 
pHed by them, with the necessaries of life. 

A plan has been in contemplation, to pro- 
vide for the future maintenance of these 
people, and for the relief of the Company 
from an increasing burden, which is, to es- 
tablish a settlement on the Rainy Lake 
River, where the soil is excellent, to which 
the people, above mentioned, may resort. 
To enable them to make a beginning, in the 
cultivation of the land, and in the erection of 
mills, &c., the Company propose to give 
them fifteen or twenty thousand dollars, 
and to appoint one of the Partners to super- 
intend the affairs of the settlement, for 
three years, or for a longer time, if it shall 
be necessary. 

It appears highly probable, that a set- 
tlement might thus be formed, which, in a 
few years, would secure to those who should 
belong to it, the comforts of life, as the fruit 
of their own industry; and should they 
prosper, so far as to raise a supply beyond 
their own necessities, it might, with mutual 
advantage, be disposed of to the Company. 

The Partners and Clerks of the North 
West Company, who are in the Indian coun- 
try, as well as some of those who reside in 
Canada, and elsewhere, have subscribed sev- 
eral thousand dollars, toward the establish- 
ment of a school, either at the Rainy Lake, 
or at Fort William, for the instruction of the 
children, connected with their establishments. 

iviii PREFACE^. 

Some of these children are the offspring of 
parents, who survey their comparative deg- 
radation, with the deep interest of a strong 
natural affection, who are able to bear the 
expense of their education, and who would 
cheerfully contribute, in this way, to raise 
them to increased respectability, comfort and 
usefulness. Should this school be established, 
such persons would be required to support 
their children, who should belong to it ; while 
the children of the poor, would be taught 

These facts have opened to my mind a 
prospect, to which I wish to direct the eye 
of christian benevolence. I would ask, with 
deep interest, some one of the institutions, 
whose object is the diffusion of civilization 
and Christianity among the Indian tribes, 
whether a missionary establishment might 
not be formed, in concert with the North 
West Company, which would, with much 
less trouble and even expense to them, ac- 
complish the object which the Company 
have in view, than any establishment which 
they could independently make; and which 
would, at the same time, have a most aus- 
picious bearing upon the religious interests 
of the tribes of the N. W. Country. 

A school for the instruction of children in 
the arts of life, and in the rudiments of 
science, as well as in the principles of the 
christian religion, forms the basis of the most 
efficient missionary exertions among the In- 


dians. The school amon^ the Cherokees, is 
a most interesting object to christian be- 
nevolence; and as the fruit of it, the light 
of science, and the still brighter light of the 
Sun of Righteousness, is shedding a cheering 
radiance over many minds, that would other- 
wise have been shrouded in intellectual and 
moral darkness. The school has received the 
unqualified approbation of men of all de- 
scriptions who have visited it, among whom 
are many persons of the most distinguished 
character and rank in civil life. If such a 
school were established, at a convenient 
place in the N. W. Country, it would be as 
the Day Spring from on High to a region, 
now overspread by an intellectual and moral 

Men, occupied as the gentlemen of the 
North West Company are, in the overwhelm- 
ing cares of a vast commercial concern, 
would find it difficult to bestow all that at- 
tention on a school for the instruction of 
the children and youth, now in their estab- 
lishments, whom they might think it proper 
to educate, which would be necessary to 
secure its proper management. Could this 
care be entirely taken off their hands, by 
men of known and approved characters, 
acting under a responsibility to some re- 
spectable society ; by men who would feel all 
the interests which christian benevolence can 
create in the welfare of the children and 
youth committed to their care, it does ap- 


pear to me, that they would gladly co-oper- 
ate with them. 

As the North West Company from motives 
of interest, as well as from more noble con- 
siderations, would contribute something to 
the support of such an establishment, should 
it meet their approbation, the expense of it 
would, of course, be less to the society that 
should embark in the undertaking, than is 
commonly incurred, in establishments of this 

The children and youth above mentioned, 
might be instructed in the arts of civilized 
life, in science and in Christianity, with much 
greater ease than the children of the Natives, 
even if they could as easily be obtained; 
and when instructed, they would be equally 
promising, as the instruments of spreading 
civilization and the religion of the gospel, 
among the Indian tribes. They have always 
been habituated to a life, in a great measure 
settled ; and they would, therefore, endure 
confinement, better than children who have 
lived among the wandering savages. They 
are partially civilized, by an intercourse with 
those, who have carried into the wilderness 
many of the feelings and habits of civilized 
society. They would not be liable to be 
withdrawn, at an improper time, from the 
place of their education, by the whims and 
caprice of unstable parents. At the same 
time, being familiarly acquainted with the 
manners and customs and feelings of the 


savages, by a frequent intercourse with them, 
being able to speak their languages, and 
having some of the Indian blood circulating 
in their veins, they would, when properly in- 
structed, be as well qualified to gain access 
to the Natives, and to have influence over 
them, as if they had originally been taken, 
directly from their families. 

As this establishment could probably be 
made, with the greatest convenience, within 
the British dominions, it might, perhaps, be 
undertaken with the surest prospect of suc- 
cess, by some society in Great Britain. The 
Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian 
Knowledge has, heretofore, contributed to 
the support of missionaries among the Ameri- 
can Indians; and might, perhaps, be willing 
to engage in this undertaking. The Society 
in Massachusetts for Propagating the Gospel 
among the Indians of North America has, 
in some instances, if I mistake not, acted in 
concert with the Society in Scotland, above 
mentioned ; and might, perhaps, conveniently 
do it in this instance. Every association, 
however, who may become acquainted with 
the facts here disclosed, will be able them- 
selves, to judge most correctly, of their own 
resources, and of their own duty. — At Fort 
William, on Lake Superior, a very consider- 
able number of the partners of the North West 
Company assemble annually, about the mid- 
dle of June, at which meeting, many impor- 
tant arrangements are made, respecting the 

xxii PREFACE. 

business of the Company. At such a meeting 
an agent from some benevolent association, 
might ascertain their feelings, in regard to 
such an establishment as I have proposed. 

The Aborigines of America, are capable of 
being exalted in the scale of existence, and 
of arriving, even at eminence, in the arts and 
sciences. The native oratory of some of 
them, is proverbial in . civilized countries, 
and has caused them to be enrolled among 
the sons of genius. Many of them afford 
proof, that they possess acute and compre- 
hensive minds ; and as a people, their mental 
capacity is certainly respectable. Nor, per- 
haps, can a people be found on the earth 
who are not raised above them by superior 
cultivation and means of improvement, who 
possess greater elevation of feeling, and who 
appear more majestick in ruins. Their vir- 
tues and their vices too, are not those of 
ignoble minds. Let their condition be im- 
proved by the arts of civilized life, their 
minds be enlightened by science, and their 
hearts be softened by the genial influence of 
Christianity, and they will assume a respect- 
able rank among the nations. Could we hear 
some of their superior geniuses unfold to 
their countrymen the wonderful scheme of 
redeeming mercy, with the brilliancy and 
pathos, which have characterised some of 
their speeches, on the interests of their tribes, 
—with a brilliancy, rendered more splendid 
by cultivation, and a jjathos, made doubly 

rREFACE. xxiii 

tender by the softening: influence of the gos- 
pel, who would not listen to them with ad- 
miration and with pleasure? Might we not 
hope that, bj the blessing of God, they would 
be made the honoured and happy instru- 
ments, of turning many of their countrymen, 
from the errour of their ways to the wis- 
dom of the just. Could numbers of them be 
brought to concert plans for the extension 
of the gospel, in the North Western wilds, 
with the skill, and to execute them with the 
fortitude and perseverance, which they dis- 
play in warring upon each other, the hap- 
piest results might be expected. 

Whether the suggestions here made deserve 
consideration or not, I cheerfully submit to 
the wisdom and benevolence of those, for 
whom they were especially intended. Such 
has been mj' own view of the importance of 
the subject here presented, that I should 
have charged myself with a culpable neglect, 
if I had failed to improve this opportunity, 
to hold it up to the attention of the christian 


Burlington, Vt., August 2, 1820. 


April, 1800. 

Tuesday, 29. La Chine. Yesterday, I left 
Montreal, for this place, in company with 
several other Clerks ; and am on my way to 
the interiour, or Indian countries, there to 
remain, if my life should be spared, for seven 
years, at least. For this space of time I am 
under an engagement to serve as a clerk to 
the North West Company, otherwise denomi- 
nated McTavish, Frobisher & Co. The goods 
intended for the interiour or upper countries, 
are here put on board of canoes. These 
canoes which are constructed of the bark of 
the birch tree, will carry a burden of three 
and an half or four tons each ; and are sever- 
ally manned by eight or nine Canadians, 
who are said to manage them with greater 
dexterity, than any other people. 

.WerJnesday,30. Point Claire. Rainy even- 
ing. For the first time in my life, I am to 
pass the night in a tent. In the former part 
of the day, I was employed in marking bales 
of goods, which are to be sent to the Grand 
Portage or General Rendezvous. About 12 


o'clock, I embarked on board of one of the 
canoes, destmed for the above mentioned 
place. The whole squadron, which consists 
of thirty canoes, is divided into three bri- 
gades. One or two Guides or Pilots are at- 
tached to each brigade. Their business is, 
to point out the best course up and down 
the streams and through the lakes, and to 
take charge of the canoes and propert}' on 
board. They attend to the repairs of the 
canoes, which are frequently broken, and 
have the same command over the men, at- 
tached to their respective brigades, as the 
commander of a vessel has, over the men on 
board. The Voyagers, as the men are called, 
have many of the customs of sailors; and 
among them the following. By all those on 
board, who have never passed certain places, 
they expect to be treated with something to 
drink ; and should a person refuse to comply 
with their requisitions, he would be sure of 
being plunged into the water, which they 
profanely call, baptizing him. To avoid such 
a disaster, I gave the people of my canoe a 
few bottles of spirits and porter, by drinking 
which, they became very merry, and exhib- 
ited the reverse of their appearance a few 
days since, when, with heavy hearts and 
weeping eyes, they parted from their rela- 
tions. Shortly after we had pitched our 
tents, an Irish gentleman, whose house was 
near the margin of the water, politely in- 
vited me to take tea with him. 


Friday, May 2. Chute au Blondeau. We 
have a strong head wind. But, since yester- 
day morning, we have come nearly sixty 
miles, and have passed two Rapids. At these 
places, most of the property was taken out 
of the canoes, and carried across the Port- 
ages, on the backs of the people. The young 
men, who have never been in the Indian coun- 
tries, now began to regret that they had 
enlisted into this service, which requires them, 
as they say, to carry burdens like horses, 
when, by remaining in their own country, 
they might have laboured like men. 

Sunday, 4. The wind has been so high, 
during the whole of the day, that we could 
not go upon the water. I have therefore 
passed the time in reading, and in the so- 
ciety of a fellow-clerk. 

Monday, 5. We are now about one hun- 
dred and twenty miles from Montreal. This 
afternoon, our people killed a deer, with their 
setting poles, as he was crossing the river. 

Tuesday, 6. The Three Kettles. In the 
former part of the day, we passed a beauti- 
ful water-fall, where the Riviere au Rideau, 
or Curtain River, falls into this, which is the 
Ottawa River. The former is ten or twelve 
rods wide, and the water falls perpendicularly, 
about forty feet, presenting at a little dis- 
tance, an appearance at once pleasing and 
grand. We are now about one hundred and 
fifty miles from Montreal ; the land on each 
side of the river is very level, and the soil 



appears to be good. William McGilvray, 
Esq. passed us this evening, in a light canoe, 
bound like ourselves, to the Grand Portage. 

Thursday, 8. .-lu Chat. We now, for the 
first time, see Indian huts or tents. 

Friday, 9. We arrived this morning, at 
this place, where the North West Company 
have a small establishment ; and I have 
passed the afternoon, in shooting pigeons. 

Saturday, 10. Grand Calumet. This Port- 
age ie nearly two miles long; and over 
it, the people carry both the canoes and their 
loading. Here stands a house, built by those 
who came here to trafflck with the Indians; 
but which has been abandoned for several 
years, as the Indians, who formerly hunted 
in this vicinity, are now gone farther north, 
where Beaver, &c. are found in greater 
plenty. Behind this house, I found a small 
bark canoe, in which I embarked alone, for 
the purpose of shooting ducks. Having pro- 
ceeded some distance from the shore, the 
canoe overset, and I fell, with my gun, into 
the water. Having my great coat on, it 
was with no small difficulty that I reached 
the shore; and I was happy to escape, with 
the loss of only my gun. 

Sunday, 11. We are encamped on an Is- 
land opposite to Fort Coulonge. Soon after 
we arrived here, the person who has the 
establishment in charge, came to invite a 
fellow-clerk, who travels in the same canoe 
with me, and myself, to sup with him, to 


which I readily agreed; but my companion 
chose to remain with the canoes. I was 
treated with all the politeness of which a 
Canadian is master, which is not a little; 
for in this, as well as in manj^ other respects, 
the Canadians resemble their ancestors, the 

Monday, 12. We are encamped on a large 
sand bank. I have had a little conversation 
with my fellow-traveller, respecting his con- 
duct the last evening, while I was absent. 
WTien I departed for the Fort, I gave him 
the keys of our travelling box and basket, 
that he might have the means of making a 
supper ; and on my return, I was not a little 
surprised at finding not only him, but sev- 
eral of the common labourers, much intoxi- 
cated. I reprimanded Mr. P. with consider- 
able severity, to-daj^ and told him, that if 
I should ever again find him in the like 
shameful condition, I should be under the 
disagreeable necessity of informing our em- 
ployers of his conduct, as soon as we should 
reach Head -quarters. He promised that he 
would not again be guilty of such conduct ; 
but I should place more reliance on his 
promise, had not his mother been a squaw. 
There seems to be in the blood of an Indian, 
a kind of predisposition to intemperance. — 
We barter with the natives, receiving sugar 
for biscuit, of which, as well as of pork, beef 
and spirits, they appear to be uncommonly 


Tuesday, 13. We are encamped on a rocky 
bank, where it is impossible to find a smooth 
place, sufficiently large to pitch a tent; we 
are therefore obliged to make our bed be- 
tween two large rocks, and sleep in the open 
air. On the north side of the river are moun- 
tains, which appear almost destitute of tim- 
ber, of any kind. 

Wednesday, 14:. We shall again sleep where 
we did last night, as the people have been 
employed, during the whole of the day, in re- 
pairing the canoes, which had become leaky. 

Thursday, 15. Roche Capitaine Portage. 
This Portage is so named from a large rock, 
that rises to a considerable height above 
the water, in the middle of the rapid. Dur- 
ing the day, we have come up several difficult 
ones, where many persons have been drowned, 
either in coming up or going down. For 
every such unfortunate person, whether his 
corpse is found or not, a cross is erected by 
his companions, agreeably to a custom of 
the Roman Catholics; and at this place, I 
see no less than fourteen. This is a melan- 
choly sight. It leads me to reflect on the 
folly and temerit}^ of man, which cause him 
to press on in the path, that has conducted 
so many of his fellow creatures, prematurely 
to the grave. Thus in hope of gaining a 
little money, which can minister but imper- 
fectly to our comfort, and that, during a 
short season, we expose ourselves to death. 

Friday, 16. Came up a rapid where, a 


few years since, two canoes, in going down, 
were broken, and several men were drowned ; 
therefore, we see more crosses erected. 

Saturday, 17. Roderick McKenzie, Esq. 
agent for the North West Company, passed 
us, who, with those that accompany him, is 
on his way to the Grand Portage. 

Sunday, 18. The Lazy Portage. Tliis 
day we left the Ottawa River on our right 
hand, and came up a small river, that falls 
into it. About noon, we passed a cave, in 
the side of a high hill. This cave, I am told, 
is spacious ; but we were in too great haste, 
to permit my examining it. This I was the 
more inclined to do, as I am told that the 
natives relate many remarkable stories re- 
specting it ; and among others, that a large 
animal remains in it, which they call a Man- 
eater, and which devours all those, who have 
the presumption to approach the entrance, of 
his solitary dwelling. 

Monday, 19. The Pines. Came up several 
bad rapids ; but have been so fortunate, thus 
far, as to meet with no disaster. The banks 
on each side of the river, for a considerable 
distance, are a perfect natural wall, formed 
of smooth stones; and are about one hun- 
dred feet high. 

Tuesday, 20. La Vase, or Miry-place. Dur- 
ing the whole of this day, we have been 
crossing ponds, and small lakes. 

Wednesday, 21. After coming over a num- 
ber of short portages, and crossing several 


ponds, and descending a small river, at the 
source of which is a height of land, we have 
at length arrived at a place, called the 
Meadows, which constitutes the north end of 
Lake Nipisangue, or, as it is commonly writ- 
ten, Nippising. Here we find several Indians, 
who appear to be in poor circumstances. 
We, however, obtain from them a little sugar, 
and a few wooden dishes and spoons, for 
which we give them provisions. 

Thursday, 22. Sailed a part of the day, 
on the above mentioned lake; but, towards 
noon, the wind was so high, that we were 
obliged to encamp on a small island, which 
is almost destitute of wood. 

Friday, 23. The Lost Child. This place 
took its name from the following circum- 
stance. Several years since, the natives, be- 
ing encamped here, lost a child, for whom 
they made diligent search, but in vain. They 
imagined, however, that they heard his 
lamentations in the bowels of the earth; 
whereupon they commenced digging, but to 
no purpose; the reason of which they con- 
ceived to be, that the Devil, or Bad Spirit, 
as he is called by the Indians, was continu- 
ally carrying him from one place to another, 
in the earth. Many large holes have actually 
been dug in the earth, as our people have 
shown me. 

In the morning we left Lake Nipisangue, 
and have ever since been descending the 
French River, which is a considerable stream. 


In the latter part of the day, we passed 
a narrow place in the French River, to which, 
a number of years since, many of the most 
abandoned and savage Natives were accus- 
tomed to resort every spring, and where 
they built a kind of Fort, or stone wall, 
which is still to be seen. Behind this, these 
villains secreted themselves; and, when the 
voyagers were passing by, discharged vollej's 
of shot into their canoes, and of course, as 
the distance was small, killed many of them. 
They would then rush from their hiding place, 
and fall upon and butcher the remainder, 
and go off with the plunder, which they had 
thus seized, into a distant part of the coun- 
try. But the better sort of their country- 
men, would not join them in such barbarous 
and unprovoked hostilities. At length the 
good Indians, who were well disposed to- 
wards the white people from Canada, pro- 
nounced these murderers a nuisance to so- 
ciety, and made war upon them, until the 
greater part of them were destroyed. The few 
that survived, retired into a distant part of 
the country, and nothing has since been 
heard, respecting them. The friendly Indians, 
for their exertions in extirpating their un- 
worthy relations, were handsomely rewarded 
by the North West Company. 

The Canadian Voyagers, when thej' leave 
one stream to go up or down another, have 
a custom of pulling off their hats, and mak- 
ing the sign of the cross, upon which one in 


each canoe, or at least, in each brigade, re- 
peats a short prayer. The same ceremonies 
are observed by them, whenever they pass a 
place, where any one has been interred, and 
a cross has been erected. Those, therefore, 
who are in the habit of voyaging this way, 
are obliged to say their prayers more fre- 
quently perhaps, than when at home; for 
at almost every rapid which we have passed, 
since we left Montreal, we have seen a num- 
ber of crosses erected ; and at one, I counted 
no less than thirty ! It is truly melancholy, 
and discouraging, seriously to reflect on the 
great number of my fellow creatures, who 
have been brought to an untimely end, by 
voyaging this way, as I know not but I shall 
myself, also, be doomed to the same watery 
grave. With such dismal spectacles, however, 
almost continually before our eyes, we press 
forward, with all the ardour and rashness 
of youth, in the same dangerous path, stimu- 
lated by the hopes of gratifying the eye, and 
of securing a little gold. 

Saturday, 24. Lake Huron. We find on 
the shore of this lake, low Cranberries, in 
great abundance. 

Sunday, 25. The wind has been so high, 
that it has prevented us from sailing, the 
greater part of the day. We are encamped 
on an island, of which there are many in this 
lake. On one of them, it is reported, that 
the Natives killed a snake, which measured 
thirty-six feet in length. The length and 


size of this astonishing serpent, they have 
engraved on a large smooth rock, which we 
saw, as we passed by. But we have often 
seen other engTavings, on the rocks, along 
the rivers and lakes, of many different kinds 
of animals, some of which, I am told, are 
not now to be found, in this part of the 
world, and probably never existed. 

Wednesfhiy, 28. Islnml of St. Joseph. To 
tliis place the British troops came and built 
a fortification, when the Americans took 
possession of Michilimackinack. There are 
stationed here one Captain, one Lieutenant, 
one Ensign, and thirty nine privates. The 
fort is built on a beautiful rise of ground, 
which is joined to the main island by a nar- 
row neck of land. As it is not long since a 
settlement was made here, they have only 
four dwelling houses and two stores, on the 
other parts of the peninsula; and the in- 
habitants appear like exiles. The North West 
Company have a house and store here. In 
the latter, they construct canoes, for sending 
into the interiour, and down to Montreal. 
Vessels, of about sixty tons burden, come 
here from Detroit and Mackana and Soult 
St. Maries. The whole island is computed 
to be about twenty miles in circumference; 
the soil is good ; it is distant, nearly nine 
hundred miles from Montreal, and forty-five 
from Mackana, and is in Lat. 47° North. 
Spirits are sold here for six dollars a gallon ; 
and other things, in the same proportion. 


Thursday, 29. Duncan McGilvray, Esq. 
one of the agents for the North West Com- 
pany, arrived in the morning, at St. Josephs, 
from Mackana ; and soon after, we embarked 
on board of our canoes, to come to this 
small Island. As the weather is calm, my 
fellow-traveller and I intend sleeping in our 
canoe ; but the labourers will pass the night 
on shore. 

Friday 30. Soult St. Maries. Here the 
North West Company have another establish- 
ment on the north side of the Rapid ; and on 
the opposite shore, there are a few Americans, 
Scotch and Canadians, who carry on a small 
traflfic with the Natives, and also till the 
ground a little. The soil about Lake Huron, 
which we have just passed, appears to be 
good, and the face of the country is low and 
level. — Here the North West Company have 
built locks, in order to take up loaded canoes, 
that they may not be under the necessity of 
carrying them by land, to the head of the 
Rapid; for the current is too strong to be 
stemmed by any craft. The Company are 
likewise building a saw mill, at the foot of 
the Rapid, to furnish boards, &c. for the 
Grand Portage, &c. Here is the outlet of 
Lake Superiour, by which its waters pass 
into Lake Huron. On each of these lakes, 
the North West Company have a vessel. 
One goes to the Grand Portage, and the 
other to Detroit, &c. 

Saturday, 31. We shall sleep where we 


did the last night. Several of us have visited 
the people, who live on the other side of the 
rapid, where we saw a dance of the Natives, 
who are Sauteux or Chippeways. 

Suii(J;iy, June 1. Point ;}u Pin, or Pine 
Point, in Lake Superiour. We here find the 
vessel that sails from this to the Grand Por- 
tage. I went on board, and the Captain in- 
formed me, that she would carry about ninety 
five tons, and that she makes four or five 
trips every season. I left the Soult St. 
Maries, in company with three hundred men, 
who are in thirty five canoes. 

Monday, 2. Point mix Arable, or Maple 
Point. We now form four Brigades, in which 
there are six clerks. 

Tuesday, 3. A high wind during the whole 
day. In the morning, we attempted to sail, 
but soon found we could not, without ship- 
ping a great deal of water; we therefore 
soon landed again, and are encamped, within 
one hundred rods of the place where we tar- 
ried the last night. 

Wednesday, 4. As it has rained and 
snowed all day, accompanied by a high wind, 
we have not been able to leave our encamp- 
ment of the last night. Mons. St. Germain, 
who has the charge of a small Fort, belong- 
ing to the North West Company, not far 
from this, visited us, and brought with him 
a few necessaries. 

Thursday, 5. Although the Swells in the 
Lake are very high, we have made good 


progress, during the whole day. We are 
encamped near a large rock, on which the 
Natives, as they pass this way, leave an 
arrow or two, or some other article of little 
value to appease the Devil, or Muchamuna- 
too, as they call him, and prevent him from 
doing them harm. 

Sunday, 8. In the course of the day, we 
have passed several islands, which, as well 
as the main land, appear to be covered with 
little else besides moss, with here and there 
a shrubby spruce. 

Monday, 9. In the morning we passed 
another Fort, belonging to the North West 

Tuesday, 10. We are obliged to anchor 
our canoes by a small island, instead of un- 
loading them, as is customary every night, 
for the whole country is on fire ; but whether 
by accident or design, I am unable to learn. 
Our people, who pass this way every sum- 
mer, say that, almost every year, fire runs 
over this part of the country, which is, of 
course, nearly destitute of animals, of any 

Thursday, 12. Sugar Point. Our people 
say we have sailed ninety miles during the 

Friday, 13. Grand Portage, where we 
arrived late this evening. This place lies in 
the 48th degree of north latitude; and is 
said to be nine hundred miles from the Soult 
St. Maries, and eighteen hundred from Mon- 


treal. The Fort, which is twenty four rods 
by thirty, is built on the margin of a bay, 
at the foot of a hill or mountain, of con- 
siderable height. Within the fort, there is a 
considerable number of dwelling-houses, shops 
and stores, all of which appear to be slight 
buildings, and designed only for present con- 
venience. The houses are surrounded by 
palisades, which are about eighteen inches in 
diameter, and are sunk nearly three feet in 
the gTOund, and rise about fifteen feet above 
it. The bay is so shallow that the vessel 
cannot approach the shore, unless she is al- 
most without lading. There is a consider- 
able island, directly opposite to the fort, 
which shelters the vessel from the winds that 
blow from the Lake ; and which renders this 
a tolerably good harbour. There is also an- 
other fort, which stands about two hundred 
rods from this, belonging to the X. Y. Com- 
pany, under which firm, a number of mer- 
chants of Montreal and Quebec, &c. now 
carry on a trade into this part of the coun- 
try. It is only three years since they made 
an establishment here ; and as yet, they have 
had but little success. 

This is the Head Quarters or General Ren- 
dezvous, for all who trade in this part of the 
world ; and therefore, every summer, the 
gTeater part of the Proprietors and Clerks, 
who have spent the winter in the Interiour 
come here with the furs which they have 
been able to collect, during the preceding sea- 


son. This, as I am told, is about the time 
when they generally arrive; and some of them 
are already here. The people who come from 
Montreal with the goods, go no farther than 
this, excepting a few who take those articles 
to the Rainy Lake, which are intended for 
Athabasca, as that place lies at too gTeat 
a distance from this, to permit people who 
reside there to come to this place and return, 
before the winter commences. Those who 
bring the goods from Montreal, on their 
return, take down the furs, &c. from the 

Excellent fish, I am informed, are taken 
here. WTiite fish are sometimes speared, which 
will weigh twenty-two pounds. The water 
in the lake is uncommonly clear. 

Sunday, 15. The people here pass the 
Sabbath, much in the same manner as they 
do, the other days of the week. The labour- 
ing people have been emploj^ed, during the 
day, in making and pressing packs of furs, 
to be sent to Canada. This appears, not 
as it should be, to me, who have been taught 
to abstain from labour on the sabbath, 
and to consider that it should be employed 
in a religious manner. The people, how- 
ever, who have been long in this savage 
country, have no scruples of conscience on 
this subject. 

Tuesday, 24. I have, for some days past, 
been employed, together with several other 
clerks, in marking packs of furs. Almost 


every day, for some time past, people have 
been flocking in from the Interiour, with the 
returns of the season. 

Siiturdiiy, 28. The last night, a squaw, 
in a state of intoxication, stabbed her hus- 
band, who soon after expired. This after- 
noon, I went to their tent, where I saw a 
number of Indians, of both sexes, drinking 
and crying over the corpse, to which they 
would frequently offer rum, and try to pour 
it down his throat, supposing him to be as 
fond of rum when dead, as he was when 
alive. The Natives of this place are Chippe- 

Friday, July 4. In the day time, the 
Natives were permitted to dance in the fort, 
and the Company made them a present of 
thirty six gallons of shrub. In the evening, 
the gentlemen of the place dressed, and we 
had a famous ball, in the dining room. 
For musick, we had the bag-pipe, the violin 
and the flute, which added much to the in- 
terest of the occasion. At the ball, there 
was a number of the ladies of this country; 
and I was surprised to flnd that they could 
conduct with so much propriety, and dance 
so well. 

Sunday, 13. Yesterday, several gentlemen, 
on their way to their winter quarters, accom- 
panied me to Charlotte, at the other end of 
this Portage, which is nine miles over. My 
business was to send off a number of canoes, 
bound for Fort des Prairies. The country 


between this and Fort Charlotte, is tolerably 
level ; and the soil appears to be pretty good. 

Tuesday, 15. This morning a number of 
gentlemen, as well as myself, left the Grand 
Portage, to proceed to winter quarters. I 
am to accompany John McDonald, Esq. to 
Fort des Prairies. We left Fort Charlotte, 
about 3 o'clock P. M. on board of two 
canoes, each of which will carry about two 
tons, and is pushed on by six Canadians. 
This is a small river; and we have passed 
several places, where the men were obliged 
to carry the ladings, a short distance, and 
in some places, to transport the canoes also. 

Wednesday, 16. The Long Cherry Port- 
age. In the former part of the day, we 
crossed small lakes and ponds, connected by 
several portages, and then came over the 
height of land. Since passing this, we have 
descended a small river, which, I am in- 
formed, after running through several lakes, 
at length discharges itself into Hudson's Bay, 
in latitude 51° north. At the mouth of this 
river, the Hudson Bay Company have a fort, 
which is called Albany Factory. 

Friday, 18. Great Pines. We have this 
day crossed the Flinty Lake, so named from 
the stones, found on its shore. For some 
time past, I have had a fit of the ague and 
fever, every day. It commenced when I was 
crossing the large Lakes; and, I am told, 
that it is seldom that a person is attacked 
with it, in the region where I' now am. 


Monday, 21. For the last few days, we 
have been crossing- small lakes and ponds, 
and coming down a small river. The coun- 
try appears thinly timbered, lies rather low, 
and the soil is good. 

Tuesday, 22. This evening, there came 
here three canoes, manned by Iroquois, who 
are going into the vicinity of the upper Red 
River, to hunt Beaver, for the North West 
Company. Some of them have their families 
with them. 

Thursday, 24. Rainy Lake Fort. This is 
built about a mile and a half down the river, 
from the entrance of the Lake, where there 
is a considerable fall. Here the soil is better 
than any we have seen, since we left the 
Ottawa River. The timber, also, is of a very 
good size. The Lake and River are said to 
contain excellent fish, such as sturgeon, white- 
fish, «S;c. In the vicinity, a considerable 
quantity of wild rice is gathered, by the 
Natives, who are Chippeways. This is 
thought to be nearly as nourishing as the 
real rice, and almost as palatable. The ker- 
nel of the former, is rather longer than that 
of the latter, and is of a brownish colour. 

Friday, 25. In the former part of the day, 
we overtook several gentlemen, who, like 
ourselves, are on their way to their winter 
quarters. This is a beautiful river, and 
pretty free from rapids. 

Saturday, 26. This morning, we met 
twenty-four canoes from Athabasca. They 


say they suffered much for want of food, on 
their way; and during four days, ate nothing. 
We gave them a dram, which made them 
almost forget their late sufferings. They 
will arrive at the Rainy Lake, later than 

Monday, 28. We have come down several 
rapids, at one of which a canoe was broken, 
the last year, and a man drowned. We are 
still in the Rainy Lake River, which is about 
one hundred and twenty miles long, and 
twelve or fifteen rods broad. The land on 
each side is low, and is said to be excellent. 
The timber consists of birch, a species of 
pine, hemlock, poplar, aspin, cedar, &c. 

Tuesday, 29. This day we came across 
the Woody Lake, which is full of islands. 
It is about thirty-six miles in length ; and 
the soil about it is much like that, along 
the Rainy Lake River. We are now in Wini- 
pick River, and have passed a rapid where 
the last year, three men were drowned. One 
of our men fired at a black bear, but did 
not kill him. 

Wednesday, 30. Passed a number of miry 
Portages, and a place where, three years 
since, the Natives, who are Chippeways, fired 
upon our people, but without killing any of 
them. One of the Indians was taken, with 
the intention of carrying him to the nearest 
Fort, and there punishing him as he deserved. 
After proceeding a considerable distance, 
however, and when near a rapid, he jumped 


out of the canoe, intending-, as was sup- 
posed, to swim to the opposite shore, and 
thus escape. But the current was too strong; 
and he went down the rapid, and was prob- 
ably drowned. 

Thursday, 31. Mouth of the River Wini- 
pick. Here the North West Company, and 
the Hudson Bay Company, have each a 
fort. Here the above named river discharges 
its waters into Lake Winipick. The River 
Winipick, througli the greater part of its 
course, is a succession of small lakes; and 
in several places there are falls, of a con- 
siderable height. The country around it is 
broken ; and occasionally, majestick and 
frightful waterfalls are to be seen, par- 
ticularly where the White River joins this, 
about thirty miles above where we now are. 
A few miles above this, there is a small 
lake, called Lac de Bonne, from which the 
Hudson Bay people leave our rout, and pro- 
ceed toward the Albany Factory. The soil 
is good ; and among the fruit, I observe the 
red plum. The grape, also, grows well in 
this vicinity. In the neighbouring woods, a 
few moose and deer are found ; and the Lake 
and River are well supplied with fish.— Our 
people are employed in drying the goods 
some of which were wet, in coming down the 
rapids, yesterday. 

Saturday, August 2. When I left the Grand 
Portage, it was expected that I should go 
up the Sisiscatchwin river, to spend the win- 


ter. That river falls into the north western 
end of Lake Winipiek. But, since our arrival 
here, we have received intelligence from the 
Swan River Department, which country lies 
between Lake Winipiek and the Red and 
Assiniboin Rivers, that, in the opinion of Mr. 
McLeod, who superintends the concerns of 
that region, it is necessary to make another 
establishment there. It is therefore deter- 
mined that I shall go and take charge of it ; 
and I shall accordingly remain here a few 
days, to wait for the arrival of the brigade, 
destined to the Swan River department. — 
The after part of the day, I spent in shoot- 
\y^ ing pigeons, which I found to be numerous, 
as at this season, red raspberries, and other 
kinds of fruit, are ripe, and exist here in 

Sunr];i,r, 3. In walking in the adjacent 
country, I saw the bushes and brambles 
loaded with ripe fruit. While partaking of 
it, I was led to reflect on the beneficence of 
the great Authour of nature, who scatters 
his favours with an unsparing hand, and 
spreads a table here in the wilderness, for 
the refreshment of his creatures. 

This is the first day which I have ever 
spent, since my infancy, without eating either 
bread or biscuit. As a substitute for bread, 
we now make use of what the Natives call 
pimican, which consists of lean meat, dried 
and pounded fine, and then mixed with melted 
fat. This compound is put into bags, made 


of the skins of the buffaloe, &c. and when 
cold, it becomes a solid body. If kept in a 
dry place, it will continue good for years. 
But, if exposed to moisture, it will soon be- 
come musty, and unfit for use. Pimican is 
a very palatable, nourishing and healthy 
food ; and on it, our Voyagers subsist, while 
travelling in this country. Sometimes we add 
to the two above named ingredients, sugar 
or dried berries, which we procure from the 
Natives; and the taste of it is thus very 
much improved. 

Monday, 4. I have visited the Hudson 
Bay people, whose fort is but a few rods 
from ours. Mr. Miller, the gentleman who 
has charge of it, informed me, that they 
obtain their goods from Albany Factory; 
that, in going down with their barges, they 
are generally about forty days; but, that 
they are nearly twice that time in returning, 
in consequence of the current. The Factory 
lies to the north east from this. 

Wednesday, 6. This morning Mr. Mc- 
Donell, whom we passed a few days since, 
overtook, and informed us, that one of his 
canoes broke, in coming down the rapids, 
that one of the men was drowned, and most 
of the property on board was lost. 

Friday, 8. This evening, Mons. Mayotte 
took a woman of this country for a wife, or 
rather concubine. All the ceremonies attend- 
ing such an event, are the following. \Mien 
a person is desirous of taking one of the 


daughters of the Natives, as a companion, 
he makes a present to the parents of the 
damsel, of such articles as he supposes will 
be most acceptable; and, among them, rum 
is indispensable; for of that all the savages 
are fond, to excess. Should the parents 
accept the articles offered, the girl remains 
at the fort with her suitor, and is clothed 
in the Canadian fashion. The greater part 
of these young women, as I am informed, 
are better pleased to remain with the white 
people, than with their own relations. Should 
the couple, newly joined, not agree, they 
are at liberty, at any time, to separate; 
but no part of the property, given to the 
parents of the girl, will be refunded. 

Sunday, 10. Lake Winipick. In the former 
part of the day, the people for whom I have 
long been waiting, came up ; and soon after, 
I embarked with them, and came hither. 
Although we are not in want of provisions, 
yet our people have killed a dog to eat, the 
flesh of which, they say, is delicious. The 
dogs of this country, which resemble wolves, 
differ considerably from the dogs, found in 
the civilized part of the world. 

Monday, 11. We embarked, early in the 
morning; but soon, the wind blew so as to 
oblige us to make the land, which we have 
done, on a point that projects far into the 
Lake. Soon after we reached the shore, a 
number of the Indians of this quarter, who 
are Chippeways and Muscagoes, came to pay 


their respects to us, to whom we gave some 
rum, tobacco, &c. 

Simdu^y, 17. Entrance of the River Dau- 
phine. Lake Winipick, which we now leave to 
go up this river, is about two hundred and 
fifty miles in length, and from three to sixty 
or seventy, in breadth. The country about 
this lake, for a considerable distance, is 
low, and is overspread with pretty heavy 
timber, and the soil appears to be good. 
Dauphine river is so shallow, at present, 
that our people are under the necessity of 
leaving half their ladings, for which they 
will return, after having proceeded a certain 
distance with the remainder. 

Tuesday, 19. Last night, the wind blew 
so high, that it drove the water of the Lake 
to such a distance up the beach, that we 
were under the necessity of removing our 
baggage farther into the woods, at three 
different times. This morning, our people 
came back for the remainder of the prop- 
erty ; and we proceeded up the river, which 
is about ten rods wide. The country about 
it is level. 

Wednesday, 20. Lac St. Martin. The river 
Dauphine passes through this lake. We here 
see a great number of swans, bustards, peli- 
cans, &c. The country around is swampy; 
and I am informed, that Moose are numer- 
ous in the vicinity. 

Friday, 22. This morning we left Lac 
St. Martin, and entered the Muddy Lake, 


where we again find fowls, in great abun- 

Saturday, 23. North End of the Phiin 
Portage. This portage is about two miles 
over, through a beautiful country, and the 
soil is excellent. 

Sunday, 24. Little Lake Winipick. Here 
we find a number of the Natives, who are 
Chippeways, waiting our arrival, to get 
rum to drink, and necessaries, to enable 
them to hunt the beaver. 

Mon day, 2 5 . We remain still, where we were 
the last night; and have been employed, 
during the day, in making out a selection 
of goods for the establishment at the en- 
trance of the river Dauphine, which falls 
into the west end of this Lake. At that 
place, a French missionary resided, before 
the British obtained possession of Canada. 
We remained there, but for a short time; 
and great success, therefore, could not have 
been expected. I am told, however, that 
there are some Indians, still living, who 
recollect prayers, which were taught them 
by the missionarj'. 

Saturday, 30. Encampment Island. Here 
we arrived, in the fore part of the day ; and 
we have been employed, ever since, in setting 
aside goods for the Eed Deer River, which 
falls into this lake, at the north end. We 
are now nearly across the lake, which is 
about one hundred and twenty miles long, 
and from five, to thirty broad. There are 


no mountains, of any magnitude, in this 
part of the country'. The land is generally 
low, and well covered with timber, which 
consists of a species of pine, birch, poplar, 
aspin, willow, &c. 

Friday, September 1. In the morning, 
Mr. McGillis, with most of the people, left 
us to proceed to the Red Deer River, where 
they are to pass the ensuing winter. Mr. 
McLeod, with a number of people in one 
canoe, has gone to Lac Bourbon, which place 
lies nearly north west from this. We here 
take, in nets, the white fish, which are ex- 

Wednesday, 3. I have passed the day in 
reading the Bible, and in meditating on my 
present way of living; and, I must confess, 
that it too much resembles that of a savage. 

Sunday, 7. Late the last evening, Mr. 
McLeod returned from Lac Bourbon ; and, 
this morning they again embarked for Swan 
River, and left me here, with two 'men, and 
as many women, to wait for the arrival of 
a number of canoes, which are still behind, 
but which are expected in daily. 

Wednesday, 10. Yesterda^^ a part of the 
people arrived, for whom I have been waiting, 
some of whom I sent to the Red Deer River, 
and others to Swan River. 

Sunday, October 4. North End of Little 
Lake Winijnrk. From the 29th of August, 
until the morning of this day, I remained 
on Encampment Island, waiting for the ar- 


rival of the people, who were left behind. 
But, as they had almost constantly high 
winds, which, I am told, are common in this 
late part of the season, they did not make 
their appearance, until the second instant. 

During the long stay which I made at 
that unpleasant Island, we had little or noth- 
ing to eat, excepting what we took from 
the water with our nets. There were times 
when we met with little success. \Mien the 
wind was high, we could not set our nets; 
and consequently took nothing. One night 
the wind was so high, that it took the only 
canoe which we had, to the other side of 
the Lake, a distance of fiye miles, at least- 
We were thus deprived of the means of set- 
ting our nets. On the eighth day aft^r this 
disaster. Providence sent an Indian to the 
place of our encampment, who lent us his 
canoe to go in search of ours, which our peo- 
ple found, uninjured. ^Tiile we had no canoe, 
we were under the disagreeable necessity 
of living upon the fish which we had left 
on the beach, when we took them in plenty. 
They had, by this time, become almost pu- 
trid. Unsavoury, however, as they were, they 
did not last so long as we could have wished ; 
for, when they were expended, we had noth- 
ing to eat, until a kind Providence sent a 
black bear near our tents. One of my men 
fired, and killed him, which was a blessing, 
for which we endeavoured to be thankful. 
We considered it sent hy Heaven; and felt. 


that we deserved not such a favour. But 
the rain descends on the unjust as well as 
the just. — Yesterday, it snowed, during most 
of the day, which prevented us from decamp- 
ing. But early this morning, without re- 
luctance, we left the solitary Island, where 
many a moment of ennui passed over me. 
As I had no other book, I read during my 
stay there the greater part of the Bible. 
This afternoon, we met two men, in a small 
canoe, from Swan River, loaded with pro- 
visions, for the people of the Red Deer River. 
We did not suffer so good an opportunity, 
for furnishing ourselves with a sufficiency 
of food, to sustain us until we should meet 
with another supply, to pass unimproved. 
How delicious is food to a person who is 
near famishing ! But there are thousands, 
who know not how to prize abundance, be- 
cause they have never experienced the dis- 
tresses of want. 

Thursday, October 9. Little Swnn River. 
Yesterday, on account of high winds, we 
could not leave our encampment ; but early 
this morning, we embarked on board of our 
canoes, and at twelve, left Little Lake Wini- 
pick, and entered this river, which is eight 
or ten rods wide, very shallow, and full of 
rapids. I therefore debarked, and walked 
along on the beach about four miles, in the 
snow, mud and water. The people, also, 
for want of a sufficiency of water, were 
obliged to debark, and drag their canoes 


up the shallow places. But we are now en- 
camped around a large fire, with plenty of 
food ; I have given to each of the people 
a dram, and we have all ceased to think 
of the fatigue and trouble of the day. To 
make a place to lie down, the people scrape 
away the snow, and lay down a few branches 
of the pine, such as this country in every 
part produces; and on this we spread a 
blanket or two, and cover ourselves with 
another. A day of hard labour, and of great 
fatigue, will enable a person to sleep soundly 
on such a bed; and to obtain refreshment, 
such as a sluggard will seek for in vain, on 
a bed of down. 

Friday, 10. Swan River Fort. In the 
morning we crossed Swan Lake, which is 
nearly eight miles long, and then entered 
the Great Swan River. This river is about 
eleven rods wide; there is a sufficiency of 
water, and there is no rapid from its mouth 
to the fort, a distance of twelve miles. The 
country adjoining, is low, and in many places, 
swampy, and the soil is rich. Mons. Perigne, 
the superintendant of the fort, has a tolerable 
kitchen garden. The Hudson Bay people 
once came here ; but it is several years since 
they abandoned the place. As they have 
nothing to expect from the Company, but 
their salaries, they seem, so far as I can 
learn, to make but little exertion to extend 
their trade, and, thereby, to benefit their 


Saturday, 11. The day has beenemplo^'ed 
in fitting out Mons. Perigne, who, with six 
labouring men, is to go and build a fort, 
about fifty miles up this river, where they 
will pass the winter. A few miles from this, 
there is a salt spring, by boiling down the 
water of which, tolerable salt is made. It 
is less strong than that brought from Can- 
ada; but, used in sufficient quantity, it will 
preserve meat very well. 

Sunday, 12. The people destined to build 
a fort up the river, left us to day. I shall 
remain here until some f)er8ons arrive from 
Alexandria, which is situated nearly one 
hundred miles to the westward of this, among 
the Prairies. There I shall pass the winter, 
with Mr. McLeod, or go and build by the 
side of the Hudson Bay people, who are 
about three leagues distant from him. — Our 
men shoot a few horses and ducks. 

Thursday, 16. We have taken a few fish 
out of this river, with nets. This evening, 
two men on horses arrived from Alexandria, 
by whom I received a letter from Mr. Mc- 
Leod, requesting me to accompany them to 
that place. 

Saturday, 18. Second crossing place in 
the Swan River. In the morning we left the 
fort. The country which we have passed 
through, is low; and the timber, consisting 
of poplar, aspin, birch, willow, pine and an 
inferiour kind of maple, is small. Of the sap 
of the maple, sugar is made ; but its quality 




is not equal to that, produced from the real 

Monday, 20. Biifl Mountain. Here Mons. 
Perigne' and others are building a fort. Yes- 
terday and to day, our way has been through 
prairies, interrupted occasionally, by small 
groves of wood. Cranes and Pheasants are 
to be seen in the prairies ; and to-day I have 
also seen and fired at eight Elk, without 
having killed any of them. They are about 
the size of a cow, and of a light grey col- 
our. The males, which have long branch- 
ing horns, are animals of a noble and majes- 
tick appearance. 

Wednesday, 22. The Foot of a High Hill 
and near a Small Lake. The waters of this 
lake have a sulphureous taste. In the morn- 
ing, we left Swan River on our right, after 
having crossed it on a raft, made hj tying 
several dry trees together. Since leaving 
that river the country appears more hilly, 
and almost destitute of timber of any kind. 
Cranes and pheasants are to be seen, every 

Thursday, 23. Alexandria. We arrived 
here in the afternoon ; and I am_ happy to 
find mj^self, at length, at the end of my 
journey, and where I hope to pass a few 
months, at least, in quietness. The fort is 
built on a small rise of ground, on the bank 
of the Assiniboine, or Upper Red River, that 
separates it from a beautiful prairie, about 
ten miles long, and from one to four broad, 


which is as level as the floor of a house. 
At a little distance behind the fort, are small 
groves of birch, poplar, aspin and pine. On 
the whole, the scener^^ around it, is delightful. 
The fort is sixteen rods in length, by twelve 
in breadth; the houses, stores, &c., are well 
built, are plaistered on the inside and out- 
side, and are washed over with a white earth, 
which answers nearly as well as lime, for 
white washing. This earth is found, in cer- 
tain places, in all parts of the country. — 
Here horses are to be bought of the Natives 
for a mere trifle. They are well built, strong, 
and tolerably fleet. 

This place lies in Latitude 52° north, 
and in 103° west Longitude. Mr. McLeod 
is now gone to fort Dauphine, on horse 
back, which lies only four day's march from 
this, over land ; yet it is nearly two months, 
since I passed there in a canoe. 

Tuesday, 28. Mr. McLeod and company 
have just returned from fort Dauphine; and 
I am happy in meeting him, after so long a 
separation, and he appears to be pleased to 
see me, safely here. From the time that I 
was left at the Encampment Island until 
now, I have had no person with whom I 
could converse in English ; and I am not 
yet able to converse in French, though I can 
read it tolerably well. 

Siindny, November 9. On the 30th ultimo, 
I set off, in company with four Canadians, 
on horse back, for Swan River fort. The 


day we left this, it snowed and rained, v.hich 
caused, us to pass a very disagreeable night, 
as we had nothing but our wet blankets 
with which to cover ourselves. The people 
went down for goods; and as there is no 
person there who can read and write, I went 
to deliver out such articles as we are in 
immediate want of here. 

Suudny, 16. The Indians who come to 
this establishment are Crees and Assiniboins. 
The principal part of the former, generally 
remain in the woody part of the country, 
and hunt the moose, elk, beaver, &c. and 
the latter remain in the large prairies, and 
hunt buffaloes, wolves, «S;c. Last Wednesday, 
twelve families of Crees and Assiniboins 
came from the large prairies, and let us 
have furs and provisions. Both the men 
and women have been drinking, ever since, 
and their noise is very disagreeable; for 
they talk, sing and cry, at the same time. — 
Our men play at cards on the sabbath, the 
same as on any other day. For such im- 
proper conduct, I once reproved them ; but 
their reply was, there is no Sabbath in this 
country, and, they added, no God nor devil; 
and their behaviour but too plainly shows, 
that they spoke as they think. It is a lamen- 
table fact, that those who have been for any 
considerable time in this savage country, 
lay aside a greater part of the regulations 
of civilized and christian people, and behave 
little better than the savages. It is true, 


we have it not at all times in our power, 
to observe the sabbath as we ought, as the 
Natives come to our establishment as often 
on that day, as any other; and when they 
do come, they must be attended to, and 
their wants must be supplied. We are, also, 
frequently under the necessity of travelling 
on the Sabbath. But it is likewise true, 
that, if we were rightly disposed, our minds 
might, on this day, be almost wholly occupied 
with divine things. I must, therefore, ac- 
knowledge, that we have no reasonable ex- 
cuse for violating the Sabbath, as we all do. 
Wednesclaj, 19. Last night, there fell 
about four inches of snow, which is the first 
that we have had, this season. — Yesterday, 
eight families of Crees came in. While drink- 
ing, one of the women, who had a sharp 
pointed knife about her, fell down, and drove 
it nearly two inches into her side; but the 
wound is not thought to be mortal. To see 
a house full of drunken Indians, consisting 
of men, women and children, is a most un- 
pleasant sight ; for, in that condition, they 
often wrangle, pull each other by the hair, 
and fight. At some times, ten or twelve, of 
both sexes, may be seen, fighting each other 
promiscuously, until at last, they all fall 
on the flioor, one upon another, some spilling 
rum out of a small kettle or dish, which 
they hold in their hands, while others are 
throwing up what they have just drunk. 
To add to this uproar, a number of children, 


some on their mothers' shoulders, and others 
running about and taking hold of their 
clothes, are constantly bawling, the older 
ones, through fear that their parents may 
be stabbed, or that some other misfortune 
may befal them, in the fray. These shrieks 
of the children, form a very unpleasant 
chorus to the brutal noise kept up by their 
drunken parents, who are engaged in the 

Sunday, November 30. This, being St. An- 
drew's day, which is a fete among the Scotch, 
and our Bourgeois, Mr. McLeod, belonging 
to that nation, the people of the fort, agree- 
ably to the custom of the country, early in 
the morning, presented him with a cross, 
&c., and at the same time, a number of 
others, who were at his door, discharged a 
volley or two of muskets. Soon after, they 
were invited into the hall, where they received 
a reasonable drnm, after which, Mr. McLeod 
made them a present of a sufficiency of 
spirits, to keep them merry during the re- 
mainder of the day, which they drank at 
their own house. In the evening, they were 
invited to dance in the hall ; and during it, 
they received several flagons of spirits. They 
behaved with considerable propriety, until 
about eleven o'clock, when their heads had 
become heated, by the great quantity of 
spiritous liquor which they had drunk, during 
the course of the day and evening. Some 
of them became quarrelsome, as the Cana- 


dians generally are, when intoxicated, and 
to high words, blows soon succeeded; and 
finally, two battles were fought, which put 
an end to this truly genteel, North Western 

Tuesday, December 2. As yet, we have 
only a few inches of snow. Yesterday morn- 
ing, accompanied by six men on horse-back, 
I went to the lodge or tent of one of our 
hunters. The people went for meat, and I, 
for the pleasure of riding, and seeing the 
countr3^ We arrived at the place where the 
Indian was encamped, just as the sun was 
sinking below the horizon, and when the 
hunter was about to take a sweat, which 
is frequently done in the following manner. 
The women make a kind of hut, of bended 
willows, which is nearly circular, and if for 
one or two persons only, not more than 
fifteen feet in circumference, and three or 
four in height. Over these, they lay the 
skins of the buffaloe, &c. and in the centre 
of the hut, they place heated stones. The 
Indian then enters, perfectly naked, with a 
dish of water in his hand, a little of which, 
he occasionally throws on the hot stones, 
to create steam, which, in connexion with 
the heat, puts him into a profuse perspira- 
tion. In this situation he will remain, for 
about an hour ; but a person unaccustomed 
to endure such heat, could not sustain 
it for half that time. They sweat themselves 
in this manner, they say, in order that their 


limbs may become more supple, and they 
more alert, in pursuing animals, which they 
are desirous of killing. They, also, consider 
sweating a powerful remedy, for the most 
of diseases. As they come from sweating, 
they frequently plunge into a river, or rub 
themselves over with snow. The country 
we passed through, is large prairies, with 
here and there a gTOve of small trees. This 
evening we returned to the fort ; and the 
horses of our people were loaded with the 
flesh of the moose and elk. The buffaloes 
are as yet a considerable distance farther, 
out in the spacious prairies. Nothing but 
severe cold weather will drive them into 
the woody part of the country, to which 
they will then come, in order to be less ex- 
posed to the wind and weather, than they 
would be, to remain in the open plains. 

Sunday, 21. There is now about a foot of 
snow on the ground ; and, on the 11th in- 
stant, I left this place, in company with 
seven Canadians, for Swan River fort. Each 
man had a sledge, drawn by two dogs, 
loaded with one hundred and fifty pounds 
weight of furs, besides provisions to serve 
man and beast, to perform the trip. On our 
return, the sledges were loaded with goods. 
We reached our fort, this afternoon, where 
I am happy to find Mr. Hugh McGillis, on 
a visit from Red Deer River, and also, two 
men with letters, from Fort des Prairies, or 
Sisiscatchwin River. The former place, lies 


about one hundred and fifty miles from this 
and the latter, four or five hundred, in nearly 
a north direction. 

Wednesday, 24. Yesterday, I went to see 
the fort of the Hudson Bay Company, which 
is situated about nine miles down this river 
and is in the charge of a Mr. Sutherland. 
He has a woman of this countrj^, for a wife, 
who, I was pleased to find, could speak the 
English langTiage, tolerably well. I under- 
stand, also, that she can both read and 
write it, which she learned to do at Hudson's 
Bay, where the Company have a school. 
She speaks, likewise, the Cree and Sauteux 
languages. She appears to possess natural 
good sense, and is far from being deficient, 
in acquired knowledge. 

Friday, January 2, 1801. The weather, 
for several days past, has been severely cold. 
Yesterday, being the commencement of a new 
year, our people, according to a Canadian 
custom, which is to get drunk if possible, 
spent the day in drinking, and danced in 
the evening ; but there was neither scratching 
nor fighting on this occasion. 

Sunday, 4. In the morning, the gTeater 
part of our people, consisting of men, women 
and children, were sent away to pass the 
remainder of the winter, about two days' 
march from this, in the prairie. They will 
subsist on the flesh of the buffaloe, which 
they will themselves kill in abundance. Dur- 
ing their stay there, they will reside in tents 


or lodges, made of the skins of the buffaloe, 
moose or elk. These skins, after having 
been dressed, are sewed together; and one 
tent will contain from ten to twenty five 
of them. These tents are erected on poles, 
and assume the form of a sugar loaf. Ten 
or fifteen persons will reside in one of them ; 
for while there, they are either sitting or 
lying down. 

The Indians, who come to this establish- 
ment, are, as has been already observed, 
Crees and Assiniboins ; or as some call them, 
Kinistinoes and Stone Indians. Both of them 
are numerous tribes ; and as they often meet 
and intermarry, their manners and customs 
are similar; but there is no resemblance in 
their languages. Both tribes are. well fur- 
nished with horses. The Assiniboins, how- 
ever, are, by far, the best horsemen; they 
never go any distance on foot, and it is 
generally on horse back, that they kill their 

They mount their horses, and run dowTi 
and kill the buffaloe, and some other animals 
with bows and arrows, which they find every 
way as convenient for this purpose, as fire 
arms. But the Crees, when they can procure 
them, always make use of guns. Their cloth- 
ing consists of leggins of cloth or dressed 
Antelope skins, a shirt or frock of the same 
materials, and a blanket or dressed Buffaloe 
skin, which they wrap round their bodies, 
and tie about their waists. To the above 


they will often add a cap or bonnet, of the 
wolf skin, and shoes for their feet. 

Last evening-, I wrote to two fellow travel- 
lers with me from Montreal; and the letters 
will be taken to them by the winter express, 
which leaves this, tomorrow, and is to pass 
by the way of Fort des Prairies, thence to 
the English River, and thence directly to 
Athabasca. And, I am informed, there is 
an express, which every year leaves Atha- 
basca, in the month of December, and passes 
through the whole country called the North 
West, and in the latter part of March, reaches 
the Soult St. Maries. Thus the gentlemen 
who come up from Montreal, obtain from 
the interiour, intelligence respecting the trans- 
actions of the preceding summer and fall 
much earlier than they could otherwise do. 
This information, it is important that they 
receive, as soon as possible. This convey- 
ance of intelligence, extending to the dis- 
tance of nearly three thousand miles, is at- 
tended with but a trifling expense to the 

Thursday, 15. Beautiful weather. On the 
eleventh, I accompanied six of our people to 
the tent of one of our hunters ; and the day 
following, they returned with their sledges 
loaded with meat ; but I remained, to go 
along with the hunter, farther in the prairie. 
Accordingly, the next day, I proceeded with 
him, and saw, in different herds, at least a 
thousand buffaloes, grazing. They would 


allow us to come within a few rods of them 
before they would leave their places. At 
this season, they are tame, and it is not 
at all dangerous to go among them. But, 
in the fore part of the summer, which is 
their rutting season, it is quite the reverse. 
Then, if they perceive a human being, the 
males will pursue him, and if they can over- 
take, will trample him under their feet, or 
pierce their horns through his body. 

The male buffaloe, when fat, will weigh 
from one thousand, to fifteen hundred pounds, 
and the female, from eight hundred, to a 
thousand. Their meat is excellent eating; 
but is not generally considered so delicious, 
as that of the moose. 

Wednesday', February 11. On the 1st 
inst. accompanied by eight of our people, 
and one of the Natives as a guide, I set 
off, with a small assortment of goods, to 
go and trade with about fifty families of 
Crees and Assiniboins. In going to their 
camp or village, we were three days, and at 
all times, in an open country. After we 
had encamped the first night, there came on 
a terrible storm of snow, accompanied by 
a strong and cold north wind ; and as we 
were in an open plain, we had nothing to 
shelter us from the violence of the weather. 
In the morning, we were covered with snow, 
a foot in depth. Our people, however, soon 
harnessed the dogs ; and we proceeded, hop- 
ing to warm ourselves, by running. This 


we found it difficult to do, as the wind was 
strong-, and directly in our faces. At the 
close of the daj'^, after we had encamped, our 
guide killed a fat buffaloe, which supplied 
food, both to men and beasts. While eating- 
it around a large fire, we almost forgot the 
suffering which we endured, by the cold of 
the preceding night and morning; and, if 
we were not thankful for the blessing be- 
stowed upon us, we were, at least, glad to 
enjoy it. After having passed one or two 
cold days without eating, there is a relish 
in food to which the sons of indolence and 
of pleasure, are perfect strangers ; and which 
they can purchase only, at the expense of 
toil and hardship. 

When we had approached within about a 
mile of the camp of the Natives, ten or 
twelve of their Chiefs, or most respectable 
men among them, came on horseback, to 
meet, and conduct us to their dwellings. 
We arrived at them, through a crowd of 
people, who hailed us with a shout of joy. 
Immediately after our arrival, the principal 
Chief of the village sent his son, to invite 
me and my interpreter to his tent. As soon 
as we had entered it, and were seated, the 
respectable old Chief caused meat and berries, 
and the best of everything which he had, to 
be set before us. Before we had eaten much, 
we were sent for to another tent, where we 
received a similar treatment ; and from this, 
we were invited to another; and so on, till 


we had been to more than half a dozen. 
At all these, we ate a little, and smoked our 
pipes ; for, my interpreter informed me, they 
would be greatly affronted, and think that 
we despised them, if we refused to taste of 
every thing which was set before us. Hospi- 
tality to strangers, is among the Indian 
virtues. — During several days that we re- 
mained with these people, we were treated 
with more real politeness, than is commonly 
shown to strangers, in the civilized part of 
the world. 

While I was at the camp of the Natives, I 
was invited to attend and see them dance. 
The dancers were about thirty in number, 
and were all clothed with the skins of the 
Antelope, dressed, which were nearly as white 
as snow ; and upon their heads they sprinkled 
a white earth, which gave them a very gen- 
teel appearance. Their dance was conducted 
in the following manner. A man, nearly 
forty years of age, rose with his tomahawk 
in his hand, and made, with a very distinct 
voice, a long harangue. He recounted all 
the noble exploits which he had achieved, 
in the several war-parties with which he had 
engaged his enemies; and he made mention 
of two persons, in particular, whom he first 
killed, and then took off their scalps; and 
for each of these, he gave a blow with his 
tomahawk against a post, which was set up, 
expressly for that purpose, near the center 
of the tent. And now the musick began, 


which consisted of tambourines, and the 
shaking of bells, accompanied by singing. 
Soon after, the man who had made the 
harangue, began the dance, with great maj- 
esty ; then another arose, and joined him ; 
and shortly after, another; and so on, one 
after another, until there were twelve or 
fifteen up, who all danced around a small 
fire, that was in the centre of the tent. While 
dancing, they made many savage gestures 
and shrieks, such as they are in the habit 
of m.aking, when they encounter their en- 
emies. In this course, they continued, for 
nearly an hour, when they took their seats, 
and another party got up, and went through 
with the same ceremonies. Their dancing 
and singing, however, appeared, to be a 
succession of the same things; and there- 
fore after having remained with them two 
or three hours, I returned to my lodgings ; 
and how long they continued their amuse- 
ment, I cannot say. 

In this excursion, we saw buffaloes in 
abundance; and when on a small rise of 
ground, I think I may with truth afiirm, 
that there were in view, gazing on the sur- 
rounding plains, at least five thousand of 
them. Of these animals, we killed what we 
wanted for our own subsistence, and the 
support of our dogs: and this evening, we 
returned to the fort, well pleased with our 
jaunt, loaded with furs and provisions, and 
without having received the least affront or 


the smallest injury from the Natives, not- 
withstanding most of them became intoxi- 
cated with the spirits, with which we sup- 
plied them. 

Tuesday, February 17. We have now 
about a foot and a half of snow on the 
ground. — Mr. Monteur, accompanied by two 
Canadians, arrived, with letters from our 
friends, in I^ort des Prairies. — This morning, 
one of our people killed a buffaloe in the 
Prairie, opposite to the fort; and another 
came within ten rods of the fort gate, when 
the dogs pursued him, and he ran off. 

Thursday, 19. This day, I am twenty 
three years of age, and how rapidly does 
this space of time appear to have passed 
away ! It seems as if it were but yesterday, 
that I was a child. The truth is, the time 
that we are allowed to remain in this fleet- 
ing world is so short, even if we should be 
permitted to reach the utmost boundary of 
human life, that a person can scarcely have 
passed the threshold of existence, before he 
must set his house in order to die. 

Friday, 20. During the last night, we sat 
up to deal out spirits to the Indians. One 
of them has his own daughter for a wife, and 
lier mother at the same time ! Incest, how- 
ever, is a crime, of which the Indians of this 
quarter are not often guilty. \Mien one of 
them does commit it, he is regarded by the 
rest of his tribe, as void of sense. 

Saturday, March 14. The greater part of 


the snow is now dissolved. On the sixth 
inst. accompanied by eighteen of our people, 
I left this, to go to Swan River fort. We 
had thirty sledges, some drawn hj horses, 
and some by dogs, which were loaded with 
furs and provisions. 

Saturday, April 4. Swan River Fort. Here 
I arrived this afternoon, and have come to 
pass the remainder of the spring. While at 
Alexandria, my time passed agreeably in 
company with A. N. McLeod, Esq. who is a 
sensible man, and an agreeable companion. 
He appeared desirous of instructing me in 
what was most necessary to be known, 
respecting the affairs of this country; and 
a taste for reading I owe, in a considerable 
degree, to the influence of his example. 
These, with many other favours, which he 
was pleased to show me, I shall ever hold 
in grateful remembrance. — But now I am 
comparatively alone, there being no person 
here, able to speak a word of English; and 
as I have not been much in the company 
of those who speak the French language, I 
do not as yet, understand it very well. Hap- 
pily for me, I have a few books; and in pe- 
rusing them, I shall pass most of my leisure 

Monday, 6. I have taken a ride on horse- 
back, to a place where our people are making 
sugar. My path led me over a small prairie, 
and through a wood, where I saw a great 
variety of birds, that were straining their 


tuneful throats, as if to welcome the return 
of another spring ; small animals, also, were 
running about, or skipping from tree to 
tree, and at the same time, were to be seen 
/^^ swans, bustards, ducks, &c. swimming about 
in the river and ponds. All these things 
together, rendered my ramble beyond ex- 
pression delightful. 

Friday, 10. Fine pleasant weather. This 
afternoon, I took a solitary, yet pleasing 
walk, to the ruins of a fort, which was aban- 
doned, a few years since, by the Hudson Bay 
people, to whom it belonged, but who do not 
now come into this part of the country. 
While surveying these ruins, I could not 
avoid reflecting on the short duration of 
every thing in this fleeting and perishing 
world. I then went to a spot, where a num- 
ber of their people had been interred, far 
from their native country, their friends and 
relations ! And while I was lamenting their 
sad fate, my blood chilled at the thought, 
that what had happened to them might, 
very probably, befal me also. But my prayer 
shall ever be, that a merciful God will, in 
due time, restore me to my friends and re- 
lations, in good health, and with an un- 
blemished character. 

Sunday, 19. On Friday last, there fell 
nearly a foot of snow, which, however, was 
soon dissolved ; and it caused the river to 
overflow its banks to such a distance, that 
our people who were making sugar, were 


obliged to leave the woods and return to 
the fort. 

Tuesday, 21. All the snow has left us; 
and we are again favoured with fine weather. 
The last night, the ice in this river broke 

Monday, 27. It has snowed all day, and 
has fallen to the depth of six inches. — I now 
begin to feel the want of books, having 
brought but few with me, on account of the 
short time that I expect to remain here. 

Saturday, May 2. It has rained all day, 
which is the first time that any has fallen, 
since the last autumn. — As I have but little 
business that requires my attention, I em- 
ploy the greater part of my time in reading 
the Bible, and in studying the French lan- 

Sunday, 10. It has rained constantly, dur- 
ing three successive days, which has caused 
the water in the river, since yesterday, to 
rise more than four feet. — Yesterday, one of 
my men went out to shoot ducks, and lost 
his way, and was therefore under the neces- 
sity of passing the night in the woods, with- 
out any covering from the cold and the rain, 
which poured down in torrents. This morn- 
ing, however, by chance, or ratlier directed 
by an all protecting Providence, he fell upon 
a small foot path, wliich brought him di- 
rectly to the fort, where he was not a little 
[)leased to arrive. Experience only can 
teach us how to value such a deliverance. 


Wednesday, 13. The late rains have caused 
this river to overflow its banks to such an 
uncommon distance, that when I arose this 
morning, to my surprise, I found seven inches 
of water, on the first floor of the house, 
which is an event that the oldest person here 
does not remember before to have witnessed. 
We are obliged to leave the fort, and to 
pitch our tents on a small rise of ground, 
at no great distance off, where we shall re- 
main until the deluge is abated. 

Friday, 15. Sent five men with a canoe, 
two days march up this river, for Mr. Mc- 
Leod and company, as the face of the coun- 
try extensively lies under water. 

Wednesday, 20. The water has left the 
fort ; and with pleasure, we leave our tents, 
to occupy our former dwellings. This after- 
noon Mr. McLeod, and company, arrived, 
and are thus far on their way to the Grand 

Tuesday, 26. Yesterday, our people fin- 
ished making our furs into packs, of ninety 
pounds weight each. Two or three of these 
make a load for a man, to carry across the 
portages. This morning, all the hands, des- 
tined to this service, embarked on board of 
five canoes, for Head-quarters. To Mr. Mc- 
Leod, I delivered a packet of letters, to be 
forwarded to my friends, who reside at Ver- 
gennes, in the state of Vermont, and tomor- 
row, I shall set out for Alexandria, where I 
expect to pass the ensuing summer, and to 


superintend the affairs of that place and of 
this, until the next autumn. 

Monday, June 1. Accompanied by two 
men, I arrived at Alexandria, this afternoon ; 
and I here found six families of Crees, en- 
camped about the fort. I have with me one 
clerk, two interpreters and five labouring 
men, also six women and thirteen children, 
belonging- to our people, and a number of 
women and children belonging to the Na- 
tives, whose husbands have gone to make 
war upon the Rapid Indians, or as they call 
themselves, Paw-is-tick I-e-ne-wuck. This is 
a small but brave tribe, who remain a con- 
siderable distance out in the large prairies, 
and toward the upper part of the Missouri 
river. We shall have nearly one hundred 
mouths to fill, for the greater part of the 
summer, out of our store; but to furnish the 
means, we have hired two of the Natives to 
hunt for us, during the season ; and moose, 
elk, &c. are considerably numerous in this 
vicinity. We hope, therefore, that we shall 
not want for the means of subsistence. Buf- 
faloes have now returned several days' march 
from this place, into the spacious prairies; 
but this is no serious loss to us, since, if 
they were near they would be but indifferent 
food, as at this season of the year, they are 
always lean, and consequently, rank and 

Wednesday. 10. It is currently reported 
and believed, that the Rapid Indians are 


forming: a war-party, in order to come 
against the Indians of this quarter, whom 
they consider, and I think with suflBcient 
reason, as their enemies. Should they come 
this way, they will as probably fall upon us 
as upon the Natives themselves ; for they say 
that we furnish the Crees and Assiniboins 
with what fire arms they want, while they 
get but few. I have, therefore, thought it 
expedient to direct our people, to build 
block-houses over the fort gates, and to put 
the bastions in order, that we may be pre- 
pared to defend ourselves, in case of an 

Sunday, 14. This afternoon, a number 
of the Natives danced in the fort. Their 
dance was conducted in the following man- 
ner. Two stakes were driven into the ground, 
about twenty feet apart ; and as one per- 
son beat the drum, the others, consisting of 
men and women, danced round these stakes. 
The men had a different step from that of 
the women. The latter placed both feet to- 
gether, and first moved their heels forward 
and then their toes, and thus went twice 
round the stakes. But the men rather hopped 
than danced, and therefore went twice round 
the stakes, while the women went once. 
They all kept exact time with the music, for 
they have excellent ears. Indeed, I believe 
that all their senses are more acute than 
those of the white people. 

Thursday, July 9. This day, there came 


here an American, that, when a small child, 
was taken from his parents, who then re- 
sided in the Illinois country. He was kid- 
napped by the Sauteux, with whom he has 
resided ever since; and he speaks no other 
langxiage excepting- theirs. He is now about 
twenty years of age, and is regarded as a 
chief among that tribe. He dislikes to hear 
people speak to him, respecting his white 
relations ; and in every respect excepting his 
colour, he resembles the savages, with whom 
he resides. He is said to be an excellent 
hunter. He remains with an old woman 
who, soon after he was taken from his re- 
lations adopted him into her family; and 
they appear to be mutually as fond of each 
other, as if they were actually mother and 

Thursday, 30. Different kinds of berries 
are now ripe, such as strawberries, raspber- 
ries, and what the Canadians call paires, 
which the Natives' denominate Mi-sas-qui-to- 
min-uck. The last, if they are not the same 
in kind, exactly resemble, in shape and taste, 
what in the New England states are called 
shad berries. When they are found in the 
prairies, they grow on bushes, four or five 
feet high ; but in a thick wood they often 
reach to the height of fifteen or twenty feet. 
Of this wood, the Natives always make their 
arrows. These berries, when properly dried 
by the sun, have an agreeable taste, and are 
excellent to mix with pimican. The Natives 


generally boil them in the broth of fat meat ; 
and this constitutes one of their most dainty 
dishes, and is introduced at all their feasts. 

Mr. A. N. McLeod has a son here named 
Alexander, who is nearly five years of age, 
and whose Mother is of the tribe of the 
Rapid Indians. In my leisure time, I am 
teaching him the rudiments of the English 
language. The boy speaks the Sauteux and 
Cree fluently, for a child ; and makes him- 
self understood tolerably well, in the Assini- 
boin and French languages. In short, he is 
like most of the children of this country, 
blessed with a retentive memory, and learns 
very readily. 

We have made about ten tons of hay, to 
feed those of our horses which we intend 
shall work, during the winter season. The 
others live the whole jear, upon the 
which they find in the prairies. In the win- 
ter, to procure it, they must scrape away, 
with their feet, the snow, which is generally 
eighteen inches deep, excepting on the highest 
hills, from which the wind drives most of it 
into the valleys. 

Thursday, August 27. All the provision 
which we now have in the fort, consists of 
only about fifteen pounds of pimican ; and 
when we shall be able to add to our supply, 
God only knows. All our dependence is on 
our hunters; and it is now a considerable 
time since they have killed anything, though 
moose and elk are numerous in the vicinity. 


Sunday, 30. Yesterday, three of our peo- 
ple arrived from the Grand Portage, with 
letters from Mr. McLeod, <S:c., which inform 
me, that the above mentioned people, to- 
gether with others who remained at Swan 
River fort, were sent off from head quarters, 
earlier than usual, with an assortment of 
goods, supposing, that we might need some 
articles, before the main brigade arrives. 

Sunday, September 6. This is the third 
day, during which it has rained, without the 
least cessation. — There are five families of 
Crees, encamped about the fort, who have 
been continually drunk, during the last forty 
eight hours ; but now they begin to be troub- 
lesome, for they have nothing more to sell, 
yet they wish to continue drinking. 

One of the Indians who was of the party 
that last spring went to war, has recently 
come in. When he arrived, his face was 
painted entirely black, which I am informed, 
is always their custom, when thej^ return 
from such expeditions. As he drew nigh to 
the fort, he began to sing a war song. He 
states, that his party, the Crees and As- 
siniboins, have made great slaughter among 
their enemies, the Rapid Indians, and are 
bringing a number of their women and chil- 
dren home for slaves. He was sent for- 
ward, as he says, to inform us of what they 
consider glorious news. 

Monday, 7. More of the Indians, who 
have been to war, have reached this place, 


and have brought several slaves, and a few 
scalps, with them. This afternoon, they 
danced and sung their war songs. Agreeabl}' 
to the custom of the country, I gave them 
a few trifling articles, not as a reward for 
having been to war, but because they have 
done us honour, as they think, by dancing in 
our fort. 

Sunday, 27. It has snow^ed and rained all 
day. This afternoon, Mr. McLeod and com- 
pany, returned from the Grand Portage, and 
delivered to me letters from my friends in my 
native land; and I am happy in being in- 
formed, that they left them blessed with 
good health. Self-banished, as I am, in this 
dreary country, and at such a distance from 
all I hold dear in this world, nothing beside, 
could give me half the satisfaction, which 
this intelligence affords. I also received sev- 
eral letters from gentlemen in different parts 
of the widely extended North West Country. 

Friday, October 2. Montague Aiseau, or 
the Bird Mountain. In the morning, I left 
Alexandria, on horse back, and arrived here 
this evening where, by permission of Provi- 
dence, I shall pass the ensuing year. I have 
with me three interpreters, six labouring men 
and two women. The fort is built on the 
bank of Swan River, a little more than fifty 
miles distant from its entrance into Swan 
Lake. The Indians who frequent this estab- 
lishment are Sauteux, Crees and Mus-ca- 
goes, all of whom speak nearly the same 


language. Moose and elk are considerably 
numerous, in this vicinity ; but buffaloes 
seldom come thus far, into the woody coun- 

Thursday, 29. On the 22nd instant, Mr. 
McLeod, with ten of his people, arrived on 
horseback ; and on the day following, I ac- 
companied them to the lower fort, where I 
met Mr. William Henry, a clerk. Mr. McLeod 
has also brought another clerk into this 
country, by the name of Frederick Goedike. 
This evening, Messrs. McLeod, Henry and 
myself returned, but left the people behind, 
whose horses are loaded with goods, for 
this place and Alexandria. 

Tuesday, November 3. Snow has fallen 
to the depth of three inches, which is the 
first that we have had, this fall. 

Thursday, 19. A foot and a half of snow 
has fallen. 

Wednesday, December 2S. Clear and cold. 
On the 16th inst. I went to Alexandria, 
where I passed several days agreeably, in the 
company of Messrs. McLeod, Henry, and 
Goedike. We have now more snow than we 
had at any time the last winter. In con- 
sequence of lameness, I returned on a sledge 
drawn by dogs. 

Friday, 25. This being Christmas day, 
agreeably to the custom of the country, I 
gave our people a dram, and a pint of spirits 

Monday, 28. Payet, one of my inter- 


preters, has taken one of the daughters of 
the Natives for a wife; and to her parents, 
he gave in rum, dvj goods, itc. to the value 
of two hundred dollars. No ceremonies at- 
tend the formation of such connexions, as I 
have before remarked, excepting that the 
bridegroom, at the time to retire to rest, 
shows his bride where their common lodging 
place is; and they continue to cohabit, as 
long as both parties choose, but no longer. 
One thing is secured by this arrangement, 
which is by no means always found in the 
civilized world, and that is, while persons 
live together, in a state of wedlock, they will 
live in harmonj^. 

Friday, January 1, 1802. This being 
the first day of the year, in the morning, I 
gave the people a dram or two, and a pint 
of rum each, to drink in the course of the 
day, which enabled them to pass it merrily, 
although they had very little to eat ; for our 
hunters say they can kill nothing. One of 
them will not go out of his tent; for he 
imagines, that the Bad Spirit, as they call 
the devil, is watching an opportunity^ to 
find him in the open air, in order to devour 
him. WTiat will not imagination do ! 

Saturday, 9. Several days since, I sent a 
number of my people to Alexandria for meat, 
as neither of my hunters kill any thing; 
though there is no scarcity of animals in 
this vicinity. But they have just returned, 
without any thing. They say that the buffa- 


loes, in consequence of the late mild weather, 
have gone a considerable distance, into the 
large prairie. We are therefore under the 
necessity of subsisting on pounded meat, and 
dried chokecherries. This latter article, is 
little better than nothing. When we shall 
be in a better situation, God only knows. 
Hope, however, which seldom abandons the 
wretched, denies us not her comforting aid; 
and past experience teaches us, that it is 
possible our circumstances may suddenly 
change for a better. 

Sunday, 17. Last evening, our people 
brought from the tent of the hunter, the 
meat of a moose, which lighted up a smile 
of joy upon our countenances. We were 
happy to find, that a kind Providence, in- 
stead of abandoning, had favoured us with 
one of the richest dainties, that this coun- 
try affords. It would be well if our joy was 
true gratitude to our kind Benefactor. — 
There are twelve persons in the fort; and 
yet for the last fifteen days, we have sub- 
sisted on what was scarcely sufficient for two 
people ! These were certainly the darkest 
days that I ever experienced, in this or any 
other country. 

Tuesday, 19. I have taken a walk, ac- 
companied by Payet, a short distance from 
the fort, where we found hazelnuts, still on 
the bushes, in such plenty, that a person may 
easily gather a bushel in the course of a day. 
I am told, that when sheltered from the wind, 


all of them do not fall off, until the month 
of May. 

Monday, February 1. For several days 
past, the weather has been excessively cold; 
and this has been, I think, the coldest day 
that I ever experienced. In fact, the weather 
is so severe, that our hunters dare not ven- 
ture out of their tents, although they, as 
well as ourselves, have little to eat. 

Sunday, 7. During the last three days, we 
have subsisted on tallow and dried cherries. 
This evening, my men returned from Alex- 
andria, with their sledges loaded with buffaloe 
meat ; and the sight of it, was truly reviving. 
Had this favour been withheld from us a 
few days longer, we must have all miserably 
perished by famine. 

Monday, 8. All the Indians of this place, 
excepting my hunters, have gone to pass 
about a couple of months, as they are ac- 
customed to do, at this season, on their be- 
loved food, the buffaloe. 

Friday, 19. At present, thanks to the 
Giver of all good, we have a pretty good 
stock of provisions in store, and there fore 
expect not to want, this season. 

Saturday, March 6. I have just returned 
from a visit to my friends at Alexandria, 
where I passed four days very pleasantly, in 
conversing in my mother tongue. This is a 
satisfaction that no one knows, excepting 
those, who have been situated as I am, 
with a people with whom I cannot speak 


fluently. And if I could, it would afford me 
little satisfaction to converse with the igno- 
rant Canadians around me. All their chat 
is about horses, dogs, canoes, women and 
strong men, who can fight a good battle. 
I have, therefore, only one way left to pass 
m}' time rationall}^ and that is reading. 
Happily for me I have a collection of good 
books ; and mine will be the fault if I do not 
derive profit from them. I, also, begin to 
find pleasure in the study of French. 

Saturday, 20. The greater number of our 
Indians have returned from the prairies; 
and as they have brought little with them 
to trade, I, of course, give them as little; 
for we are at too great a distance from the 
civilized world, to make many gratuities. 
Yet the Indians were of a different opinion; 
and at first made use of some unpleasant 
language. But we did not come to blows, 
and are now preparing to retire to rest, 
nearly as good friends as the Indians and 
traders generallj' are. With a few exceptions, 
that friendship is little more, than their 
fondness for our property, and our eager- 
ness to obtain their furs. 

Wednesday, April 21. The most of the snow 
is now dissolved ; and this afternoon the ice 
in the river broke up. — All our Indians, who 
for several daj's past encamped near the 
fort, have now departed, to hunt the beaver. 
While they were here, they made a feast, at 
which they danced, cried, sung and howled. 


and in a word, made a terrible, savage noise. 
Such feasts, the Crees are accustomed to 
make, at the return of every spring; and 
sometimes also at other seasons of the year. 
By so doing, they saj' they appease the an- 
ger of the Evil Spirit or devil, and thus 
prevent him from doing them harm, to 
which they consider him as ever inclined. 
They have, also, certain places, where they 
deposit a part of their property, such as 
guns, kettles, bows, arrows, &c. as a sacri- 
fice to the same Spirit. To the Supreme 
Being, however, the creator and governor of 
the universe, whom they call Kitch-e-mon-e- 
too, that is, Great Spirit, they address their 
prayers; yet they say there is no necessity 
of paying him any sacrifice, since he is a 
good Spirit, and is not disposed to do them 
injury; whereas the Evil Spirit is malicious, 
and therefore, it is proper that they should 
strive to appease his anger. — The above 
mentioned feast was made by the Chief of 
the band, whose name is Ka-she-we-ske-wate, 
who for the long space of forty eight hours, 
previous to the entertainment, neither ate 
nor drank any thing. At the commencement 
of the feast, every person put on a grave 
countenance; and the Chief went through 
a number of ceremonies, with the utmost 
solemnity. After the entertainment was over, 
every Indian made a voluntary sacrifice of 
a part of his property to the devil, or as 
they call liim, Much-e-mon-e-too. 


Sunday, May 2. Accompanied by one of 
my interpreters, I have taken a ride to a 
place Avliere I intend building" a fort, the 
ensuing summer. The animals in this vicin- 
ity are moose, red deer, U species of the 
antelope, grey, black, brown, chocolate col- 
oured and yellowish bears, two species of 
wolves, wolverines, polecats or skunks, lynxes, 
kitts, beavers, otters, fishers, martins, minks, 
badgers, muskrats and black, silver, cross 
and red foxes. Of fowls, we have swans, 
geese, bustards, cranes, cormorants, loons, 
snipes, several species of ducks, water-hens, 
pigeons, partridges, pheasants, &c. &c. Most 
of the above named fowls, are numerous in 
spring and autumn ; but, excepting a few, 
they retire to the north in the summer, to 
brood. Toward the fall, they return again ; 
and before winter sets in, they go to the 
southward, where they remain, during a few 
of the coldest months of the year. 

Thursday, 6. This morning, I received a 
letter from Mr. McLeod, who is at Alexan- 
dria, informing me, that a few nights since, 
the Assiniboins, who are noted thieves, ran 
away with twenty two of his horses. Many 
of this tribe, who reside in the large prairies, 
are constantly going about to steal horses. 
Those which they find at one fort, they will 
take and sell to the people of another fort. 
Indeed, they steal horses, not unfrequently, 
from their own relations. 

Wednesday, 1 2. It has snowed and rained, 


during: the day. — On the 7th inst. 1 went to 
Alexandria, to transact business with Mr. 
McLeod. During- this jaunt, it rained almost 
constantly ; and on in^-^ return, in crossing 
this river, I drqwned my horse, which cost 
last fall, one hundred dollars in goods, as 
we value them here. 

Monday, 17. This afternoon, Mr. McLeod 
and company passed this place, and are on 
their way to the Grand Portage. But I am 
to pass, if Providence permit, another sum- 
mer in the interiour, and to have the su- 
perintendence of the lower fort, this place 
and Alexandria, residing chiefly at the latter 

Tuesday, 18. All the Indians belonging 
to this place, have now come in with the 
produce of their hunts, which is abundant ; 
and to reward them for their industry, I 
clothed two of their Chiefs, and gave a cer- 
tain quantity of spirits to them, and to the 
others. With this they became intoxicated, 
and continued so during the last night, which 
prevented our closing our eyes in sleep; for 
it is at all times necessary to watch the 
motions of the Indians, and especially is this 
the case, when reason has been dethroned, 
and passion has assumed the sole dominion 
over them, through the influence of ardent 
spirits. While in that condition, they, like 
other people, often do things which they 
will regret in their sober moments. 

Sunday, 23. It has snowed all day; and 


about six inches have fallen. I am waiting 
the arrival of Mr. Henrv to take charge of 
this post, when I shall proceed to Alexan- 
dria. Two women brought me a few hazel- 
nuts, which the}' this day gathered from the 

Mondiiy, 31. Alexandria. Here, accom- 
panied by two of my people, I arrived this 
afternoon. In crossing Swan River, I was so 
unfortunate as to drown another horse; 
and I was therefore obliged to perform the 
remainder of the journey on foot, withrnoth- 
ing to eat. Here, thanks to the Bestower 
of all good, I find a tolerable stock of pro- 
visions. Mr. Goedike is to pass the summer 
with me, also two interpreters, and three 
labouring men^ besides several women and 
children, who together, form a snug family. 

Wednesday, June 23. On the 16th inst. 
accompanied by two of my people, I set off 
for Swan River fort, on horseback. The 
first night, we slept at Bird Mountain ; and 
the day following we arrived at the lower 
fort. From that place, I returned in one 
day, which is a distance of ninety miles. I, 
however, took a fresh horse at the Bird 
Mountain. One of my people, who travelled 
less rapidly, has arrived this evening, and 
informed me, that he drowned his horse, at 
the same place where I had before drowned 

On my return here, those in whose charge 
I had left the place, had nothing to offer me 


to eat, excepting" boiled parchment skins, 
which are little better tlian nothing-, and 
scarcely deserve the name of food. I have 
therefore sent a part of my people, to en- 
deavour to take some fish out of a small 
lake, called by the Natives Devil's Lake, 
which lies about ten miles north from this. 
If they should not succeed, and our hunters 
should not be more fortunate than they 
have been for some time past, I know not 
what will become of us. All our dependence 
is on a kind Providence; and we cannot 
but hope for a speedy relief, from our truly 
sad condition. 

Friday, July 2. For six days, after I 
sent the people to fish in the above men- 
tioned lake, we subsisted at the fort on 
parchment skins, dogs, herbs and a few small 
fish, that we took out of the river opposite 
to the fort. But now, we obtain fish in 
greater plenty. 

One of our hunters has been in, and told 
me what he thought to be the cause why 
he could not kill. He said that when he 
went to hunt, he generally soon fell upon 
the track of some animal, which he followed ; 
but that, as soon as he came nigh to him, 
he heard the terrible voice of the Evil Spirit, 
that frightened both himself and the animal. 
The animal would of course run off, and the 
pursuit would end. — I told the hunter, that 
I had a certain powerful medicine; and pro- 
vided he would do with it as I would direct 


him, it would not only frighten the Evil 
Spirit in his turn, but would also render 
him at first speechless, and that shortly 
after it would cause him to die. I then took 
several drugs and mixed them together, 
that he might not know what they were, 
which I wrapped in a piece of white paper, 
and tied to the but-end of his gun, and thus 
armed him to encounter great or little devils ; 
for they believe in the existence of different 
orders. I told him to go in search of a 
moose or deer; and as soon as he should 
hear the voice of the Evil Spii'it, to throw 
th*b paper tied to his gun behind him into 
the air, and that it would fall into the mouth 
of the Evil Spirit pursuing him, and silence 
and destroy him. I warned him not to look 
behind him, lest he should be too much 
frightened at the sight of so monstrous a 
creature, but to pursue the animal, which 
he would undoubtedly kill. 

The same day, the Indian went to hunt- 
ing, and fell upon the track of an animal, 
which he followed, as he has since told me, 
but a short distance, before the Evil Spirit, 
as his custom was, began to make horrid 
cries. The Indian, however, did with the 
medicine as I had directed him, and heard 
no more of the frightful voice, but continued 
following the animal until, approaching him, 
he fired, and killed a fine fat red deer; and 
he has since killed several others. Not only 
he, but the other Indians place, from this 


circumstance, perfect confidence in my medi- 
cines. WTiat will not imagination, aided by 
frreat superstition, make a person believe ! 
It may be caused, however, at times, to re- 
move the evils of its own creation. 

Sundny, 4. Mr. William Henry and com- 
pany arrived from the Bird Mountain, and 
inform us, that they are destitute of pro- 
vision there. They will, therefore, come and 
pass the remainder of the summer with us; 
for we now have provisions in plenty. 

Monday, 17. In consequence of the great 
increase of our family of late, we are again 
poorly suppUed with provisions. In order, if 
possible, to obtain a supply, I have sent 
seven of my people several different ways, in 
search of the Natives, who will be able to 
relieve our wants, should our men chance to 
find them. For this is the season of the 
year, when almost all wild animals are the 
fattest ; and therefore, it is the best time to 
kill them, and make them into dry pro- 

Friday, 23. There are at present, in this 
vicinity, grass-hoppers, in such prodigious 
numbers, as I never before saw in any place. 
In fair weather, between eight and ten 
o'clock, A. M. which is the only part of the 
day when many of them leave the ground, 
they are flying in such numbers, that they 
obscure the sun, like a light cloud passing 
over it. They also devour every thing before 
them, leaving scarcely a leaf on the treeSj 


or a blade of grass on the prairies ; and our 
potatoe tops escape not their ravages. 

Tuesday, August 8. The most of the 
mosquetoes and horse flies, which are so 
troublesome to man and beast, have left 
us, as the nights now begin to be cool. 

Yesterday", six families of Crees came to 
the fort ; and they have been drinking, ever 
since. An Indian had a few wrangling words 
with a squaw, belonging to another man, 
to whom he gave a slight beating. At that 
time, the chief, who was the friend of the 
Indian, was passing by; and he was so en- 
raged at the abusive language given by the 
woman to his friend, that he commenced 
beating her on the head with a club, and 
soon terminated her life. This morning, 
the Indian women buried her corpse ; and no 
more notice is taken of her death, than if a 
dog had been killed ; for her relations are at 
a considerable distance, in another part of 
the country. — An Indian is not much re- 
garded or feared by his fellows, unless he 
has a number of relations to take part with 
him in his contests while in life, or to avenge 
his death, in case he should be murdered. 
This is true among all the Indian tribes, 
with whom I have been acquainted. 

Wednesday, 11. On the ninth instant, a 
Chief among the Crees, came to the fort, 
accompanied by a number of his relations, 
who appeared very desirous that I should 
take one of his daughters, to remain with 


ine. I put him off by telling him, that I 
could not then accept of a woman, but prob- 
ably might, in the fall. He pressed me how- 
ever, to allow her to remain with me, at 
once, and added, "I am fond of you, and 
my wish is to have my daughter with the 
white people; for she will be treated better 
by them, than by her own relations." In 
fact, he almost persuaded me to keep her; 
for I was sure that while I had the daughter, 
I should not only have the father's furs, but 
those of all his band. This would be for the 
interest of the Company, and would there- 
fore, turn to my own advantage, in some 
measure; so that a regard to interest, well 
nigh made me consent to an act, which 
would have been unwise and improper. But, 
happily for me, I escaped the &nare. 

Saturday, 28. I have sent Primault, one 
of my interpreters, with a letter, about six 
days' march from this, where I expect he will 
meet Mr. McLeod and company, on their 
way from the Grand Portage. Two of our 
people, whom I sent a few days since into 
the large prairie, have just returned with 
the news, that buffaloes are numerous, with- 
in two days' march from this. They say, 
that the Natives, during the two days that 
they remained with them, killed upwards of 
eighty, by driving them into a park, made 
for that purpose. 

Sunday, October 3. Yesterday, a little 
snow fell, which is the first that we have 


had this season. We now begin to think 
some disaster has befallen our people, on 
their way in, as they do not make their ap- 
pearance so soon as usual. 

Monday, 4. One of our men has just 
arrived from the Grand Portage, and deliv- 
ered me a letter from Mr. McLeod, informing 
me, that he is going to Athabasca, and is to 
be succeeded here by Mr. Hugh McGillies. 
The canoe in which this man came, left head- 
quarters alone, some time before the main 
brigade was prepared to leave. 

Thursday, 21. This afternoon, Mr. Hugh 
McGillies, accompanied by one man on horse 
back, arrived, and informs me, that they 
were stopped by the ice, fifteen miles below 
Swan River fort, whence they will be obliged 
to bring the goods, on sledges. 

Monday, 25. A large band of Indians 
have been here, who were continually drink- 
ing, during the last forty eight hours. They 
have now taken their departure; but an- 
other band has just arrived, and, therefore, 
we must pass another night without sleep ; 
for when the Natives are at the fort, and 
have the means of purchasing spirits, they 
expect to drink both night and day. 

Saturday, 80. Several of our people ar- 
rived from Swan River, and delivered me 
letters from my friends in the United States, 
the perusal of which, has afforded me much 

Samuel Holmes, a clerk and interpreter, 


and a countryman of mine, has left us, to 
go and join our opponents, the X. Y. people. 
[*8oon afterwards, he left the service of the 
last mentioned company, and went to live 
with the Natives, the Assiniboins, by whom, 
a year or two after, he was killed, while he 
was on his way from the Red River to the 
River Missouri.] 

Monday, November 1. I have taken a 
ride, accompanied by my interpreter, down 
to see the Hudson Bay people. A Mr. Miller 
has charge of the place, and has with him 
fifteen labouring men, the greater part of 
whom have just returned from Albany fort, 
which stands at the mouth of Albany River. 

Tuesday, 9, Bird Mountain. Here I am 
to pass another winter; and with me there 
will be one interpreter and six labouring men, 
&c. Thus I am continually moving from 
place to place; and when my residence will 
be more stationary, God only knows. I can- 
not, however, but look forward, with pleas- 
ing expectation, to the time, when I hope 
to be permitted to settle down in some part 
of the civilized world. 

Friday, 19. I have just returned from 
the lower fort, where I have been accom- 
panied with part of my people, for goods. 
I find here a band of Indians, who have 
been waiting for my return, in order to pro- 
cure such articles as they need, to enable 

•The remarks included in brackets were added at 
a later date. 


them to make a fall hunt. The Indians in 
this quarter have been so long accustomed 
to use European goods, that it would be 
with diflBculty that they could now obtain 
a livelihood, without them. Especially do 
they need fire arms, with which to kill their 
game, and axes, kettles, knives, &c. They 
have almost lost the use of bows and arrows ; 
and they would find it nearly impossible to 
cut their wood with implements, made of 
stone or bone. 

Thursday, December 25. Severe cold 
weather. This day being Christmas, our 
people have spent it as usual, in drinking 
and fighting.— My education has taught me, 
that the advent of a Saviour, ought to be 
celebrated in a far different manner. — Of all 
people in the world, I think the Canadians, 
when drunk, are the most disagreeable; for 
excessive drinking generally causes them to 
quarrel and fight, among themselves. In- 
deed, I had rather have fifty drunken Indians 
in the fort, than five drunken Canadians. 

Thursday, January 27, 1803. I have just 
returned from Alexandria, where I passed six 
days, much to my satisfaction, in the com- 
pany of Messrs. H. McGillies, W. Henry and 
F. Goedike. While there, I wrote to Messrs. 
McLeod, A. Henry and J. Clarke, all of Ath- 
abasca, which letters will be taken to them, 
by our winter express. 

Sunday, February 20. Yesterday morn- 
ing, one of the Indian women came to the 


fort and said, her husband had cut off her 
nose, and was determined to kill her, and 
that she therefore thought proper to leave 
him, and go to Alexandria, where she would 
be out of his reach, at least for the present. 
But, after her arrival here, she altered her 
mind, and desired my interpreter to put an 
end to her life, which he, of course, refused 
to do. Then said she, ' I will do the business 
myself, for I am resolved that I will live 
with my husband no longer.' We did not 
believe, however, that she would execute this 
determination. — Soon after, she went into 
the woods, a short distance, and laid down 
her load of the few things which she had 
upon her back, and struck and kindled up 
a fire, into which she threw the most of her 
property. WTien it was nearly . consumed, 
she took a little bag of powder and put it 
into her bosom, and then set fire to it. The 
explosion burned a great part of the hair 
from her head, injured her face very much, 
and rendered her perfectly blind. She now 
commenced running about, in order if possi- 
ble, to catch her dogs, which she was resolved 
next to burn^ WTien we heard her calling out 
for them, we went out to see what she was 
doing; for at this time, we knew nothing 
of what had taken place. — The spectacle was 
truly shocking ! She was so disfigured, as 
scarcely to appear like a human being. We 
brought her to the fort, where she remained 
very quiet, until we were all in bed and 


asleep, when she got up, and went again 
into the woods. There she tied a cord about 
her neck, and then fastened it to the hmb of 
a tree. But on throwing herself off, the 
branch broke, and she fell into the snow, 
where she remained until morning, when we 
found her nearly lifeless. On examining, we 
discovered that she had run a needle its full 
length, into her right ear. We brought her 
again to the fort ; but her head is very much 
swollen, and her face is perfectly black; and 
whether she will recover, is uncertain. [Sev- 
eral years afterward, I saw her with her old 
husband ; and she appeared to enjoy as good 
health as formerly.] 

Wednesday, Mnj 4. Alexandria. Here, if 
Providence permit, I shall pass another sum- 
mer, and have with me Mr. F. Goedike, one 
interpreter and several labouring men, be- 
sides women and children. As Mr. Goedike 
will be absent from the fort, during the 
greater part of the summer, I shall be, in a 
great measure, alone; for ignorant Cana- 
dians furnish little society. Happily for me, 
I have lifeless friends, my books, that will 
never abandon me, until I first neglect them. 

Thursday, June 2. I have set our peopte 
to surround a piece of ground for a garden, 
with palisades, such as encompass our forts. 
The X. Y. people are building a fort, five 
miles up this river. 

One of our men, a Canadian, gave me his 
son, a lad of about twelve years of age. 


whom I agree, in the name of the North 
West Compan}^ to feed and clothe, until he 
becomes able to earn something more. His 
mother is a Sauteux Avoman. He is to serve 
me as cook, &c. 

Tuesday, 21. This afternoon, we had an 
uncommonly heavy shower of hail and rain. 

Yesterday, I sent Mr. F. Goedike, accom- 
panied by several of our people, with a small 
assortment of goods, to remain at some 
distance from this, for several weeks. In the 
absence of my friend, this is to me, a solitary 
place. At such times as this, my thoughts 
visit the land of my nativity ; and I almost 
regret having left my friends and relatives, 
among whom I might now have been pleas- 
antly situated, but for a roving disposition. 
But Providence, which is concerned in all the 
affairs of men, has, though unseen, directed 
my way into this wilderness ; and it becomes 
me to bear up under my circumstances, with 
resignation, perseverance and fortitude. I 
am not forbidden to hope, that I shall one 
day enjoy, with increased satisfaction, the 
society of those friends, from whom I have 
for a season banished myself. 

Sunday, 26. I have just returned from 
an excursion to the large prairies, in which 
I was accompanied by two of my people; 
and in all our ramble we did not see a sin- 
gle Indian. The most of them, as is their 
custom every spring, have gone to war again. 
We saw, and then ran down and killed, buf- 


faloes, and also, saw red deers and ante- 
lopes, bounding across the prairies, as well 
as bears and wolves, roving about in search 
of prey. In tlie small lakes and ponds, which 
are to be met with occasionally, all over the 
prairies, fowls were in considerable plenty; 
and with our fire arms, we killed a sufii- 
ciency of them, for our daily consumption. 
Although it rained during the greater part 
of the time that we were absent from the 
fort, yet the pleasing variety of the objects 
which were presented to our view, made our 
ride very agreeable. One night, we slept at 
the same place where, a few days before, a 
party of the Rapid Indian warriors had en- 
camped. They were probably in search of 
their enemies, the Crees and Assiniboins; 
and it was happy for us that we did not 
meet them, for they would undoubtedly have 
massacred us, as they consider us as enemies, 
for furnishing their opponents with fire arms. 
Monday, August 8. We have now thirty 
people in the fort, and have not a supply of 
provisions for two' days. Our hunters, owing 
to a bad dream, or some other superstitious 
notion, think they cannot kill, and therefore 
make no attempt,' notwithstanding animals 
are numerous. In the civilized parts of the 
world, when provisions are scarce in one 
place, they can generally be obtained from 
some other place, in the vicinity. But the 
case is otherwise with us. \Mien destitute, 
we must wait until Providence sends us a 


supply; and we sometimes think it rather 
tardy in coming. 

Thursday, 18. An Indian has just arrived, 
who brings the intelligence, that forty lodges 
of Crees and Assiniboins, wKo the last spring, 
in company with forty lodges of other tribes, 
set out on a war party, are returning home. 
They separated at Battle River from their 
allies, who, the messenger says, crossed that 
river, to go and make peace with their en- 
emies, the Rapid and Black-feet Indians. The 
tribes last mentioned, inhabit the country 
lying along the foot of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, between the Sisiscatchwin and Mis- 
souri Rivers. Both parties begin to be weary 
of such bloody wars, as have long been 
carried on between them, and are much dis- 
posed to patch up a peace, on almost any 
terms. Thus do ruinous wars, waged by 
restless and ambitious people, in civilized 
and savage countries, lay waste and destroy 
the comforts of mankind. 

Sunday, October 16. This afternoon there 
fell a little snow, which is the first we have 
had, this fall. 

It is now several days since the X. Y. 
people arrived from the Grand Portage ; but 
they give us no news of Mr. McGillies and 
his company ; neither would they, were their 
condition ever so bad. Neither company 
will convey to the other the least intelligence, 
that at all concerns their affairs in this 
country. The North West Company look 


upon the X. Y. Company as encroachers 
upon their territories; and, I think, with" 
some reason, since the former company first 
led the way into this savage country; while 
the latter people think, that the former have 
no more right to trade in this part of the 
world, than themselves. This jarring of in- 
terests, keeps up continual misunderstand- 
ings, and occasions frequent broils between 
the contending parties ; and to such a height 
has their enmity risen, that it has, in several 
instances, occasioned blood shed. But here 
the murderer escapes without punishment; 
for the civil law does not extend its pro- 
tection, so far into the wilderness. I under- 
stand, however, that measures are in con- 
templation in England, which will remedy 
this evil. If something should not be done 
soon, I fear many of us may lose our lives. 

Wednesday, 19. About six inches of snow 
have fallen. Mr. McGillies and company 
arrived from the Grand Portage, and de- 
livered me letters from my friends in the 
United States; and I rejoiced to hear that 
they were in health and prosperity. 

Saturday, 22. This afternoon, one of our 
men, an Iroquois, died; and it is thought 
the foundation was laid for his death, by 
too great an exertion of his strength at 
the portages, on his way into the country. 
The death of our people is not unfrequently 
occasioned by this circumstance. 

Sunday, November 6. On the 28th ult. 


we sent eight of our men, on horseback, 
into the plains, to look for buffaloes; and 
they returned this evening, with their horses 
loaded with the flesh of those animals. They 
say that they are still three days' march 
from this. 

Tuesday, December 27. Messrs. Henry 
and Goedike, my companions and friends, 
are both absent, on excursions into two dif- 
ferent parts of the country. I sensibly feel 
the loss of their society, and pass, occasion- 
ally, a solitary hour, which would glide away 
imperceptibly, in their company. Wlien they 
are absent I spend the greater part of my 
time in reading and writing. Now and then 
I take a ride on horseback, in the neighbour- 
hood of the fort, and occasionally I visit our 
neighbours, drawn in a cariol by horses, if 
the snow is light, or by dogs, if it is deep. 
This afternoon, I accompanied Mr. McGillies, 
to pay a visit to our X. Y. neighbours. 

Wednesday, February 22, 1804. Lac La 
Peche, or Fishing Lake. This lies about 
two days' march into the large plains, west 
from Alexandria, which place I left on the 
15th ultimo, accompanied by twelve of our 
people. I have come here to pass the win- 
ter, by the side of the X. Y. people. For 
some time after our arrival, we subsisted on 
rose buds, a kind of food neither very pala- 
table nor nourishing, which we gathered in 
the fields. They were better than nothing, 
since they would just support life. When we 


shouldprocureany thing better, I knew not, as 
the buffaloes at that time, in consequence of 
the mild weather, were a great distance, out in 
the large plains, and my hunters could find 
neither moose nor deer. We hoped, however, 
that a merciful God would not suffer us to 
starve; and that hope has not been disap- 
pointed, for we have now provisions in abun- 
dance, for which we endeavour to be thankful. 
On the 11th instant, I took one of my 
interpreters and ten labouring men with me, 
and proceeded several days' march into the 
wilderness, where we found a camp of up- 
wards of thirty lodges of Crees and Assini- 
boins, of whom we made a good purchase 
of furs and provisions. They were encamped 
on the summit of a hill, whence we had an 
extensive view of the surrounding country, 
which was low and level. Not a tree could 
be seen, as far as the eye could extend ; and 
thousands of buffaloes were to be seen graz- 
ing, in different parts of the plain. In order 
to kill them, the Natives in large bands, 
mount their horses, run them down and 
shoot, with their bows and arrows, what 
number they please, or drive them into parks 
and kill them at their leisure. In fact, those 
Indians, who reside in the large plains or 
prairies, are the most independent, and ap- 
pear to be the most contented and happy 
people upon the face of the earth. They 
subsist upon the flesh of the buffaloe, and 
of the skins of that animal they make the 


greatest part of their clothing, which is both 
warm and convenient. Their tents and beds 
are also made of the skins of the same ani- 

The Crees and Assiniboins procure their 
livelihood with so much ease, that they have 
but little to confine them at home. They 
therefore employ much of their time, in wag- 
ing war with their neighbours. 

Thursday, March 1. Es-qui-un-a-wacb-a , 
or the last Mountain, or rather Hill; for 
there are no mountains in this part of the 
country. Here I arrived this evening, hav- 
ing left Lac La Peche on the 28th ultimo, 
in company with my interpreter and seven 
men. The men, I ordered to encamp at a 
short distance from this, and to join me 
early to-morrow morning ; as it is more con- 
venient and safe, especially when we are not 
in our forts, to give the Indians spirits to 
drink in the day time, than in the night. 
On our arrival, we were invited to the tents 
of several of the principal Indians, to eat 
and smoke our pipes. — Indians show great 
hospitality to strangers, before they have 
been long acquainted with civilized people, 
after which, they adopt many of their cus- 
toms; but they are by no means always 
gainers, by the exchange. 

Monday, 5. On the 2nd, the remainder of 
our people arrived, and soon after I com- 
menced dealing out spirits to the Natives; 
and they continued to drink during all that 


day and the following night. We were, there- 
fore, prevented from resigning ourselves to 
sleep. For though the Indians are naturally 
well disposed toward the white people, and 
seldom begin a quarrel with us, and will 
even receive many insults, before they at- 
tempt to defend themselves ; yet when drunk, 
they often behave like mad men or devils, 
and need to be narrowly watched. 

This morning, I sent six of my people to 
the fort with sledges loaded with furs and 
provisions, in order to obtain another supply 
of goods, to enable us to go and trade with 
another large band of Indians, who are about 
two days' march from this, into the plains. 

Tuesday, 6. North side of the Great 
Devil's Lake, or as the Natives call it, Much- 
e-man-e-to Sa-ky-e-gun. As I had nothing 
of importance to attend to, while our peo- 
ple would be absent in their trip to and 
from the fort, and was desirous of seeing 
my friend Henry, who, I understood, was 
about half a day's march from where I was 
the last night, I therefore, set off this morn- 
ing, accompanied by an Indian lad who 
serves as a guide, with the intention of visit- 
ing this place. After walking all day, with- 
out finding either wood or water, and but 
a few inches of snow, just as the sun was 
descending below the horizon, we thought 
that we descried a small grove, at a con- 
siderable distance, directly before us. So 
long, therefore, as the light remained, we 


directed our course to that object; but as 
soon as the daylight failed, we had nothing 
by which to gTiide ourselves, excepting the 
stars, which, however, answered very well, 
until even their faint twinkling was utterly 
obscured by clouds, and we were inveloped 
in total darkness. In this forlorn condition, 
we thought it best to continue our march 
as well as we could; for we were unwilling 
to lie down, with little or nothing with which 
to cover us, and keep ourselves from freezing. 
There was no wood, with which we could 
make a fire, nor buffaloe dung, which often 
serves as fuel, when travelling about in those 
plains. Neither could we find water to drink ; 
and without fire, we could not melt the snow, 
for this purpose. We suffered much for want 
of water, as we had nothing to eat but very 
dry provisions, which gTeatly excited thirst. 
— To be deprived of drink for one day, is 
more distressing than to be destitute of 
food for two. — It would not have been safe 
for us to encamp, without a fire; for we 
should have been continually exposed to be 
trodden upon by the large herds of buffaloes, 
that are perpetually roving about in the 
plains, or to be devoured by the wolves, 
which ever follow the buffaloe. We therefore 
continued travelling, uncertain whither we 
were going, until at length, the dogs that 
drew my sledge, suddenly passed by us, as if 
they saw some uncommon object, directly 
before us. We did not attempt to impede 


their motion, but followed them as fast as 
we could, until they brought us to the place 
where we now are. — It is almost incredible 
that my dogs should have smelt this camp 
at such a distance; for we walked vigorous- 
ly no less than four hours after they passed 
us, before we arrived here. 

We are happy in finding fifteen tents of 
Crees and Assiniboins, who want for none 
of the dainties of this country; and I meet, 
as usual, with a very hospitable reception. 
The mistress of the tent where I am, un- 
harnessed my dogs, and put my sledge, &c., 
into a safe place. She was then proceeding 
to give food to my dogs, which labour, I 
offered to do myself; but she told me to 
remain quiet and smoke my pipe, for she 
added, "they shall be taken good care of, 
and will be as safe in my hands, as they 
would be were they in your own." — Notwith- 
standing it was near midnight when I ar- 
rived, yet at that late hour, the most of the 
Indians rose, and many of them invited me 
to their tents, to eat a few mouthfuls, and 
to smoke the sociable pipe. 

But now, all those necessary ceremonies 
are over; and I am happy in being able to 
lay myself down on buffaloe robes, by the 
side of a warm fire, expecting to obtain 
sweet and refreshing repose, which nature 
requires, after a day's march so fatiguing. 
If I was ever thankful for any of God's 
favours, it is, to find myself here among 


friends, and in comfortable circumstances, 
when a few hours before, I expected to wan- 
der with weariness, anxiety and danger, dur- 
ing the whole night, in the open plain. 

Wednesday, 7. Canadians Camp. This 
place is so called from the fact, that a num- 
ber of our people have passed the greater 
part of the winter here. As there is a good 
foot path, from the place where I slept last 
night to this place, I left my j'oung guide 
and came here alone. Frequently on the 
way, I met Indians, who are going to join 
those at the Devil's Lake. I came here in 
the pleasing expectation of seeing my friend 
Henry; but I am disappointed. Yesterday 
morning, he set out for Alexandria. I hope 
to have the satisfaction, however, of soon 
meeting him at the fort. — I here find six Ca- 
nadians with their families, who have passed 
the winter in this vicinity, and have sub- 
sisted upon the flesh of the buffaloe, which 
animals are found in plenty. The people 
appear to be happy in their situation. In- 
deed, a Canadian, with his belly full of fat 
meat, is never otherwise. 

Friday, 9. North side of DeviVs Lake. 
In the morning, I left the Canadian's Camp, 
and this afternoon reached this place, where 
I found my young guide, waiting my return. 
He is tlie son of a chief, among the Crees 
and Assiniboins. His grandfather was Mon- 
sieur Florimeaux, a Frenchman, who passed 
a number of years in the Indian country. 


When he went to Canada, he took liis son, 
the father of my young guide, along with 
him, as far as Quebec, intending to send 
him to France. But the lad, who was then 
twelve or thirteen years old, did not like to 
leave his native country. After remaining 
in Canada for some time, therefore, he de- 
serted and returned to this part of the world, 
where, he, in time, became a famous warrior, 
and at length, a chief. He is much respected 
and beloved by his relatives, and is revered 
by his own family. As a husband he is 
affectionate, and as a father he is kind. It 
was perhaps fortunate for him that he did 
not go to France; for, I am persuaded he 
could not have lived more happily and at 
ease, in any part of the world, than in this 
independent country, which is abundantly 
supplied with all of the necessaries, and many 
of the luxuries of life. 

Saturday, 10. In the middle of an exten- 
sive plain. Early in the morning, accom- 
panied by my young guide, I left our last 
night's lodgings, to go to the place where I 
expect to find my people, which is about 
two days' march further into the great plain, 
than where I separated from my interpreter, 
on the 6th inst. After walking all day, with- 
out finding either wood or water, at eight 
o'clock at night, we have concluded to lay 
ourselves down, in order if possible, to get a 
little rest. In the day time, the snow melted 
a little; but in the evening it has frozen 


hard, and our feet and our legs, as high as 
our knees, are so much covered with ice, that 
we cannot take off our shoes; and having 
nothing with which to make a fire, in order 
to thaw them, we must pass the night 
with them on. A more serious evil is, the 
risk we must run of being killed by wild 

Sunday, 11. Ca-ta-buy-se-pu, or the River 
that calls. This steam is so named by the 
superstitious Natives, who imagine that a 
spirit is constantly going up or down it; 
and they say that they often hear its voice 
distinctly, which resembles the cry of a human 
being. The last night was so unpleasant to 
me, that I could not sleep, arising in part 
from the constant fear which I was in, of 
being torn to pieces before the morning, by 
wild beasts. Despondency to a degree took 
possession of my spirit. But the light of the 
morning dissipated my fears, and restored 
to my mind, its usual cheerfulness. As soon 
as the light of day appeared, we left the 
place where we had lain, not a little pleased, 
that the wild beasts had not fallen upon us. 
It has snowed and rained all day. — Here I 
find my interpreter, and eighty tents, or 
nearly two hundred men, with their families. 
— Along the banks of this rivulet, there is a 
little timber, consisting principally of the 
inferiour species of the maple; but no where 
else, is there even a shrub to be seen. The 
surrounding country is a barren plain, where 


nothing grows excepting grass, which rises 
from six to eight inches in height, and fur- 
nishes food for the buffaloe. 

Here, again, as usual, I meet with a kind 
reception. These Indians seldom come thus 
far into the plains, as the part of the country 
where we now are, belongs to the Rapid In- 
dians. A white man was never before known, 
to penetrate so far. 

Wednesday, 14. Last evening my people 
returned from the fort; and as I now had 
spirits for the Natives, they, of course, drank 
during the whole night. Being so numerous, 
they made a terrible noise. They stole a 
small keg of spirits from us, and one of 
them attempted to stab me. The knife went 
through my clothes, and just grazed the 
skin of my body. To day I spoke to the 
Indian who made this attempt, and he cried 
like a child, and said, he had nearly killed 
his father, meaning me, and asked me why 
I did not tie him, when he had lost the use 
of his reason. — My people inform me that 
there is little or no snow, for three days' 
march from this ; but after that, there is an 
abundance, all the way to the fort. 

Friday, 16. About twelve o'clock, we left 
the Indians' camp ; but being heavily loaded, 
considering there is no snow and our prop- 
erty is drawn by dogs on sledges, we made 
slow progress. After we had encamped, we 
sent our dogs, which are twenty two in num- 
ber, after the buffaloe ; and they soon stopped 


one of them, when one of our party went 
and killed him with an axe, for we have not 
a gun with us. It is, however, imprudent 
for us to venture thus far, without fire arms ; 
for every white man, when in this savage 
country, ought at all times to be well armed. 
Then he need be under little apprehension 
of an attack ; for Indians, when sober, are 
not inclined to hazard their lives, and when 
they apprehend danger from quarrelling, 
will remain quiet and peaceable. 

Saturday, 17. North West end of DeriPs 
Lake. The weather is extremely mild, for 
the season. The surrounding country is all 
on fire ; but happily for us, we are encamped 
in a swampy place. WTien the fire passes' 
over the plains, which circumstance happens 
almost yearly, but generally later than this, 
great numbers of horses and buffaloes are 
destroyed ; for those animals when surrounded 
by fire, will stand perfectly still, until they 
are burned to death. — This evening, we killed 
another buffaloe, in the same manner as we 
killed one, the last evening. 

Sunday, 18. The weather is still mild, 
and we see many grass-hoppers, which appear 
unusually early in the season. As I found 
that we were coming on too slowly with our 
heavy loads, about twelve o'clock, I left our 
property in charge of three of my people, 
and am going to the fort with the others, 
for horses to come for it. 

This afternoon we met several of the X. Y. 


people, who were in search of Indians; but 
from the information they received from us, 
they thought them at too great a distance, 
and they are, therefore, accompanying us to 
the fort. — The same success has attended 
us this evening, which we met with the two 
preceding daj^s, in regard to supplying our- 
selves with food. Indeed, in these plains 
where buffaloes are numerous, it is not cus- 
tomary, nor is it needful for people who are 
travelling, to burden themselves with pro- 
visions; for if they have fire arms, they can 
always kill a sufficiency for the day. This 
renders travelling cheap and convenient. 

Thursday, 22. Lac la P$che. Here we 
have arrived, and I am happy in reaching 
a place, where I can take a little repose, 
after so long and fatiguing a Jaunt. Yet it 
has been in many respects, both pleasant 
and profitable. The country which I travelled 
over was beautifully situated, and over- 
spread with buffaloes, and various other 
kinds of animals, as well as many other de- 
lightful objects, which in succession presented 
themselves to our view. These things made 
the day glide away almost imperceptibly. 
But there were times, when my situation 
was far from being agreeable; they, how- 
ever, soon passed away, and we all have 
abundant reason to render thanks to a kind 
Providence, for his protection, and for our 
safe return to our home and our families. 

At three different times, while performing 


the tour above described, I was in great 
danger of losing my life, by the evil mach- 
inations of the Natives. One escape has been 
already mentioned, when one of them at- 
tempted to stab me. TNTiile I was dealing 
out spirits to the Savages, at the last moun- 
tain, on the night of the oth inst. an In- 
dian, who was much intoxicated, told me, 
that I should never see another sun arise; 
and he, unquestionably, intended to kill me. 
The night following, after I arrived at the 
north side of the Devil's Lake, I was well 
received by the greater part of the Natives 
there ; but as I have since been informed, one 
of them had resolved to take my life. And 
yet, this villain invited me to his tent, and 
I visited it, without suspicion. He was pre- 
vented from executing his purpose by my 
host, who was acquainted with his purpose, 
and told him that he must first despatch 
him; for, he added, ' Kitch-e-mo-cum-mon' 
(that is Big Knife, which is the name that 
they give me.) 'is my brother, and has 
taken up his lodging with me, and it there- 
fore becomes me to defend him and his prop- 
erty.' No Indian will suffer a stranger, if 
he be able to defend him, to be injured, 
while in his tent, and under his protection. 
Therefore, he who had intended to massacre 
me, thought it best to remain quiet. This 
hostile Indian had nothing against me, but 
that I was a friend to a person who he con- 
sidered had injured him; and as this person 


was at a great distance, and therefore be- 
yond his reach, he was resolved to avenge 
the affront upon me. It is the custom of all 
Savages, not to be very particular on whom 
the punishment of an offence falls, whether 
the guilty person, or a relation or friend of 
this person. The first of these whom he hap- 
pens to meet, becomes the object of his ven- 
geance ; and then his wrath is appeased, and 
he will not even lift his hand against the 
person who has offended him. 

Saturday, 24. Yesterday, Mr. F. Goedike 
arrived from Alexandria, and delivered me 
a letter from Mr. McGillies, requesting me to 
abandon Lac la Peche, and proceed, with 
all my people, to Alexandria. In the fore 
part of the day, we all left the former place. 
There is a woman with us, belonging to one 
of our men, who has walked the whole day, 
in the snow and water, and who, this even- 
ing, gave birth to a son. 

Tuesday, 27. Alexandria. Here we ar- 
rived this afternoon. The woman who, on 
the 24th inst. was delivered of a child, took 
it on her shoulders the day following, and 
continued her march, as though nothing un- 
usual had occurred ! It is a very happy cir- 
cumstance, that the women of this country 
are blessed with such strong constitutions, 
as they would otherwise be utterly unable 
to endure the hardships to which they are 
often exposed, and particularly in child-birth. 

Monday, April 9. Yesterday, the ice in 


this river broke up; and to day, we sent 
off four men in a boat, loaded with pimican, 
to be transported as far as the entrance of 
Winipiek River. — The country all around us, 
is on fire. 

Sunchiy, 29. Yesterdaj^ the greater part 
of our people set out for Swan River ; and to 
day, Mr. McGillies, and the most of those 
who were left, have departed for the New 
Fort, which is distant about forty-five miles, 
to the north west from the former general 
rendezvous, the Grand Portage, which the 
Americans have obliged us to abandon. 

It is thought necessary that I should pass 
another summer at this place; but I am 
happy in having with me my friends Henry 
and Goedike. There are here also one inter- 
preter and several labouring^ men, besides 
women and children. We are preparing a 
piece of ground for a garden, the cultivation 
of which, will be an amusement ; and the 
produce of it, we hope, will add to our com- 
forts. Mr. Goedike plays the vioHn, and 
will occasionally cheer our spirits, with an 
air. But the most of our leisure time, which 
is at least five sixths of the whole, will be 
spent in reading, and in meditating and 
conversing upon what we read. How valu- 
able is the art, which multiplies books, with 
great facility, and at a moderate expense. 
Without them the wheels of time would drag 
heavily, in this wilderness. 

Tuesday, May 22. The seeds which we 


put into the ground on the 10th inst. have 
sprung up, and grow remarkably well. 

Tueisday, 29. During the last forty eight 
hours, it has rained without cessation; and 
I think I never witnessed so gTeat a fall of 
water, within the same space of time. The 
river has overflowed its banks, to a much 
greater distance than is common; and our 
garden, which is not far from it, now lies 
under water. 

Thursday, 31. In the morning, Mr. Goe- 
dike, Collin, my interpreter, a young lad 
and myself, set off for the purpose of paying 
a visit to our X. Y. neighbours. On leaving 
the fort, we had the river to cross, which, 
in consequence of the late rains, is about 
sixty rods broad. Our only means of cross- 
ing it was a canoe, made of the skins of buf- 
faloes, which, on account of the length of 
time that it had been in the water, began 
to be rotten. Before we reached the other 
side of the river, the canoe was nearly half 
fiilled with water. We drew it on shore, 
mounted our horses, visited our neighbours, 
and returned to the place where we had left 
our canoe, at about three o'clock P. M. 
Having repaired it a little, we embarked, for 
the purpose of returning to the fort. We 
soon perceived that the water came into the 
canoe very fast ; and we continued paddling, 
in hope of reaching the opposite shore, before 
it would fill. We were, however, sadly dis- 
appointed; for it became full, when we had 


gone about one third of the distance; but 
it did not immediately overset. The water, 
in that place, was about five feet deep ; but 
the current was strong", and it soon carried 
us to a place wliere we could not reach the 
bottom, and the canoe overset. We all clung 
to it and, thus drifted a considerable dis- 
tance, until the canoe was, at length, stop- 
ped by a few willows, whose tops rose above 
the water. Here I had a moment, in which 
I could reflect on our truly deplorable con- 
dition, and directed my thoughts to the 
means of relief. My first object was, if pos- 
sible, to gain the shore, in order to free my- 
self from my clothes, which I could not do 
where I then was. But my great coat, a 
heavy poniard, boots, &c. rendered it very 
difficult for me to swim; and I had become 
so torpid, in consequence of having been so 
long in the cold water, that before I had 
proceeded one third of the way to the shore, 
I sunk, but soon arose again, to the surface 
of the water. I then exerted mj^self to the 
utmost ; but, notwithstanding, soon sunk a 
second time. I now considered that I must 
inevitably drown; the objects of the world 
retire from my view, and my mind was in- 
tent only upon approaching death ; yet I was 
not afraid to meet my dissolution.* I how- 
ever made a few struggles more, which hap- 

*For at that time, I was ignorant of my lost con- 
dition by nature, and of the necessity of being clothed 
in a better righteousness than my own, to prepare me 
to appear with safety before a holy God, in judgment. 


pily took me to a small tree that stood on 
what is usually the bauk of the river, but 
which is now some rods distant from dry 
land. I remained there for some time, to 
recover strength, and at length proceeded to 
the shore; and as soon as I had gained it, 
my mind rose in ardent gratitude to my 
gracious Preserver and deliverer, who had 
snatched me from the very jaws of death ! 
/ was now safe on shore; but the condition 
of my unfortunate companions, was far dif- 
ferent. They had still hold of the canoe in 
the middle of the river, and by struggling 
were just able to keep themselves from sink- 
ing. We had no other craft, with which to 
go upon the water, nor could any of our 
people swim, who were standing on the shore, 
the melancholy spectators of this scene of 
distress. I therefore took off my clothes, 
and threw myself, a second time, into the 
water, in order, if possible, to afford some 
aid to my companions. When I had reached 
the place where they were, I directed the boy, 
to take hold of the hair of my head, and I 
took him to a staddle, at no great distance, 
and directed him to lay fast hold of it, by 
which means he would be able to keep the 
greater part of his body above water. I then 
returned to the canoe, and took Collin to a 
similar place. Mr. Goedike had alone pro- 
ceeded to a small staddle, and would have 
reached the shore, had not the cramp seized 
him in one of his legs. I next tried to take 


the canoe ashore, but could not alone effect 
it. I therefore, swam to the opposite shore, 
caught a horse and mounted him, and made 
him swim to the canoe, at one end of which 
I tied a cord, and taking the other end in 
my teeth and hands, after drifting a con- 
siderable distance, I reached the land. After 
repairing the canoe a little, I proceeded to 
my three wretched fellow creatures, who had, 
by this time, become nearly lifeless, having 
been in the water at least two hours. By 
the aid of a kind Providence, however, they 
at last safely reached the shore; and so 
deeply were they affected with their unex- 
pected escape, that they prostrated them- 
selves to the earth, in an act of thanksgiv- 
ing, to their gTeat and merciful Deliverer. 

Sunday, July 1. We now begin to have 
strawberries, and the prospect is, that they 
will be abundant. 

Tuesday, 17. On the 8th instant, some 
Indians ran away with three of our horses; 
and on the following morning, Mr. Goedike 
and myself mounted two others, to pursue 
the thieves. We followed them for two days, 
and then, ascertaining that they were so far 
in advance of us, and travelled so fast, that 
it would be impossible to overtake them, 
before they would reach their camp, which is 
six or seven days' march from this, we ceased 
following them. We directed our course an- 
other way, for the purpose of finding buf- 
faloe, but without success. We, however, 


killed as many fowls, in the small lakes, as 
we needed for daily consilmption ; and this 
evening returned to the fort, having had on 
the whole a pleasant ride. 

We have had a frost, so hard, that it has 
injured many things in our garden. 

Wednesday, 25. An Indian has arrived 
here with six horses, who states, that he 
came directly from the territory of the Black 
feet Indians. He brings the intelligence, that 
this tribe have concluded a peace w'ith the 
Crees and Assiniboins; and that forty tents 
of the latter tribes, who went into that 
quarter, two years since, are on their way 
home, and will reach this place before the 
commencement of winter. 

Saturday, September 1. This afternoon, 
Mr. Ferguson and -company arrived, from 
fort Dauphin, bringing the intelligence, that 
all the Indians who are accustomed to re- 
main in that vicinity, have now gone to the 
Great Winipick lake. 

Thursday, October 4. This afternoon, 
Mr. Francis la Rocque arrived, from Mon- 
tague a la Basse, whicli lies about five days' 
march from this, down the river. He brought 
me letters from several gentlemen in this 
country, one of which is from Mr. Charles 
Chaboillez, who informs me that this place 
will be supplied with goods, this season, by 
the way of the Red River, of which depart- 
ment he has the superintendence. As I am 
to pass the winter here, he desires me to 


ax3Company Mr. La Rocque, down to Mon- 
tague a la Basse, and receive such goods as 
will be necessary for the Indians at this post. 
Frkliiy, 26. Agreeably to the instructions 
of Mr. Chaboillez, in company with Mr. La 
Rocque, and an Indian, who served as guide, 
I set out on the 6th instant, for Montague 
a la Basse. Our course was nearly south, 
over a plain country; and on the 9th, we 
reached Riviere qui Apelle, where the North 
West and X. Y. companies have each a fort, 
where we tarried all night, with Monsieur 
Poitras, who has charge of that post. The 
next morning, we continued our march, which 
was always in beautiful plains, until the 
11th, when we arrived at the place of our 
destination. There I found Mr. Chaboillez, 
C. McKenzie, &c. The fort is well built, and 
beautifully situated, on a very high bank 
of the Red River, and overlooks the country 
round to a great extent, which is a perfect 
plain. There can be seen, at almost all 
seasons of the year, from the fort gate, as I 
am informed, buffaloes grazing, or antelopes 
bounding over the extensive plains, which 
cannot fail to render the situation highly 
pleasant. I spent my time there verj^ pleas- 
antly, during eight days, in company with 
the gentlemen above mentioned. At times, 
we would mount our horses, and ride out 
into the plains, and frequently try the speed 
of our beasts. On the 19th, I left that en- 
chanting abode, in company with Messrs. 


Chaboillez, McKenzie, &c., and the day fol- 
lowing", arrived at Riviere qui Apelle, where 
we found the people, waiting our arrival. 
They came here by water ; but at this season, 
canoes go up no further, on account of the 
shallowness of the river. The goods intended 
for Alexandria, therefore, must be taken 
from this on horse back. Accordingly, we 
delivered out to the people such articles a^ 
we thought necessary, and sent them off; 
and the day following, Mr. Chaboillez re- 
turned to Montague a la Basse, and Mr. 
McKenzie and myselfproceeded to Alexandria, 
where we arrived this afternoon, after hav- 
ing made a pleasant jaunt of twenty one 

Here I shall pass the winter, having with 
me Mr. Goedike, two interpreters, twenty 
labouring men, fourteen women and sixteen 

Saturday, November 24. Some people 
have just arrived from Montague a la Basse, 
with a letter from Mr. Chaboillez, who in- 
forms me, that two Captains, Clarke and 
Lewis, with one hundred and eighty soldiers, 
have arrived at the Mandan Village on the 
Missouri River, which place is situated about 
three days' march distant from the residence 
of Mr. Chaboillez. They have invited Mr. 
Chaboillez to visit them. It is said, that 
on their arrival, they hoisted the American 
flag, and informed the Natives that their 
object was not to trade, but merely to ex- 


plore the country; and that as soon as the 
navigation shall open, they design to con- 
tinue their route across the Rocky Mountain, 
and thence descend to the Pacific Ocean. 
They made the Natives a few small presents, 
and repaired their gTins, axes, &c., gratis. 
Mr. Chaboillez TVTites, that they behave hon- 
ourably toward his people, who are there 
to trade with the Natives. 

Tuesday, January 21, 1805. For nearly 
a month, we have subsisted on little besides 
potatoes; but thanks to a kind Providence, 
the last night, two of my men returned 
from the plains, with their sledges loaded 
with the flesh of the buffaloe. They bring 
us the pleasing intelligence, that there is 
a plenty of these animals within a day's 
march of us. This supply of provisions could 
not have come more opportunely, for our 
potatoes are almost gone. 

About a month since, I sent Mr. Goedike, 
accompanied by ten men, out into the plains, 
in hopes that they might fall in with the 
Natives, who would be able to furnish us 
with food; but we have heard nothing from 
them, and I cannot conjecture what should 
have detained them so long, as I did not 
expect that they would be absent, for more 
than ten days, from the fort. 

Thursday, February 7. At the most of 
the forts in the Swan River department, 
they have not a sufficiency of provisions; 
and they have therefore, sent the greater 


number of their people, to pass the remainder 
of the winter here. We now have buffaloe 
in abundance, though our family consists 
of upwards of seventy persons, who consume, 
at least, four hundred' and fifty pounds, 

Thursday, 19. On the 8th inst. two men 
arrived from Montague a la Basse, with a 
packet of letters, informing me, that a coali- 
tion took place, the last autumn at Montreal, 
between the North West and the X. Y. com- 
panies, which letters I have forwarded to 
Fort des Prairies. 

On the 16th inst. I left this, in a cariol, 
drawn by a horse, to visit a place, about 
two days' march from this, into the plains, 
where a number of our people have passed a 
greater part of the winter ; and in the course 
of this pleasant ride, I saw thousands of 

Saturday, March 2. People arrived from 
Fort des Prairies, with letters from that 
place, the English River, and Athabasca. — 
Yesterday, swans passed this place, on their 
way to the northward. 

Monday, 18. A band of Crees and Assini- 
boins came in, a few days since, consisting 
of more than a hundred persons. As they 
brought a considerable quantity of furs 
and provisions, they were able to purchase 
a large supply of spirits for several days, 
and of course continued drinking, until their 
means were exhausted. During this period, 


one of the Assiniboins stabbed one of the 
Crees. The wound, however, is not thought 
to be mortal. The injury has been atoned 
for, therefore, by a horse, presented by the 
aggressor, to the wounded Indian ; and now, 
they appear to be as great friends, as they 
were before the quarrel took place. 

It is a common thing among all the Na- 
tives, for an offender to offer property in 
satisfaction for an injury; and when this is 
accepted by the injured party, contention 
between them entirely ceases. Ev^n murder 
is, sometimes, in this way, atoned for; but 
not commonly. In ordinary cases, nothing 
but the death of the murderer, or of some 
of his near relations, will satisfy the desire 
of revenge in an Indian, whose relative has 
been murdered. 

Wednesday, April 10. On the 24th ult. 
I set out on horse back, accompanied by one 
man, for Montague a la Basse. When we 
arrived there, we were not a little surprised 
to find the fort gates shut, and about eighty 
tents of Crees and Assiniboins encamped in 
a hostile manner, around it, and threatening 
to massacre all the white people in it. They, 
in a menacing manner, threw balls over the 
palisades, and told our people to gather 
them up, declaring that they would proba- 
bly have use for them in the course of a 
few days. After having passed several days 
there, I set out to return home. Just as I 
had gotten out of the fort gate, three vil- 


lainous Indians approached me, and one 
of them seized mj horse by the bridle and 
stopped him, saying, that the beast belonged 
to him, and that he would take him from 
me. I told him that he had disposed of 
him to Mr. Chaboillez, who had charge of 
the post ; and that of this gentleman, I had 
purchased him, and that I had no concern 
with the matter, which was wholly between 
him and Mr. Chaboillez. Perceiving, however, 
that he was determined not to let go of 
the bridle, I gave him a smart blow on his 
hand, with the butt end of my whip, which 
consisted of a deer's horn, and instantly 
striking my horse, I caused him to spring 
forward, and leave the Indian behind. Find- 
ing myself thus clear of this fellow, I con- 
tinued my rout ; but he with one of his com- 
panions, followed us nearly half of the day, 
if not longer. After this length of time we 
saw no more of them. Apprehensive, how- 
ever, that they might fall upon us in our 
encampment at night, and steal our horses, 
and probably massacre us, after it became 
dark, we went a little out of the path, and 
laid ourselves down ; but we dared not make 
a fire, lest the light or the smoke should 
discover the place where we were. 

On my return, I passed four days agree- 
ably, at Riviere qui Apelle, in the company 
of a number of gentlemen, whom I found 
there. On leaving that place, I was obliged 
to cross the river, and at this late season, 


the ice was bad. My horse, while I was on 
him, fell through the ice twice, and the last 
time, I came very near passing under it; 
but a kind Providence once more, granted 
me deliverance. 

WTiile at Montague a la Basse, Mr. Cha- 
boillez, induced me to consent to undertake 
a long and arduous tour of discovery. I am 
to leave that place, about the beginning of 
June, accompanied by six or seven Cana- 
dians, and by two or three Indians. The first 
place, at which we shall stop, will be the 
Mandan Village, on the Missouri Kiver. 
Thence, we shall steer our course towards 
the Rocky Mountain, accompanied by a num- 
ber of the Mandan Indians, who proceed in 
that direction every spring, to meet and 
trade with another tribe of Indians, who 
reside on the other side of the Rocky Moun- 
tain. It is expected that we shall return from 
our excursion, in the month of Novembernext. 

[This journey, I never undertook; for 
soon after the plan of it was settled, my 
health became so much impaired, that I 
was under the necessity of proceeding to 
Head Quarters, to procure medical assistance. 
A Mr. La Rocque attempted to make this 
tour ; but went no farther than the Mandan 

Thursday, 18. We are packing our furs, 
in order to send them to the general ren- 
dezvous ; and a few days hence, I shall aban- 
don this fort, and the Indians in this vicinity 


will go either into the region of Riviere 
qui Apelle, or up the Sisiscatchwin River, 
near Fort des Prairies. 

Sunday, May 5. We are now about three 
leagues below Alexandria, which place we 
abandoned on the 28th ult. All our prop- 
erty is on board of boats; but some of 
us travel horse-back. As it has not rained 
since the last Autumn, the water in the river 
is uncommonly low, on account of which, 
our boats make but poor progress. As we 
have a pit saw with us, I have directed 
some of my people to go into the woods, 
and saw a sufficient quantity of boards, to 
construct another boat, by means of which, 
we may reduce the loading, in those that 
we now possess. 

Wednesday, 8. Riviere qui Apelle. On the 
6th Mr. Goedike and several other persons 
with myself, left our boats, and proceeded 
on horse-back. As the fire has passed over 
the plains, this spring, it was with difficulty 
that we could find gTass, sufficient for the 
subsistence of our horses. 

Monday, 20. Montague a la Basse. Here 
I have been waiting ever since the 15th for 
the arrival of our boats. They arrived this 

Monday, 27. Riviere a la Souris, or Mouse 
River. This is about fifty miles from Mon- 
tague a la Basse. Here are three estab- 
lishments, formed severally by the North 
West, X. Y. and Hudson Bay companies. 


Last evening, Mr. Chaboillez invited the 
j>eople of the other two forts to a dance ; and 
we had a real North West country ball. 
When three fourths of the people had drunk 
so much, as to be incapable of walking 
straightly, the other fourth thought it time 
to put an end to the ball, or rather bawl. 
This morning, we were invited to breakfast 
at the Hudson Bay House, with a Mr. Mc- 
Kay, and in the evening to a dance. This, 
however, ended more decently, than the one 
of the preceding evening. 

It is now more than fifty years, since a 
French missionary left this place. He had, 
as I am informed, resided here, during a 
number of years, for the purpose of instruct- 
ing the Natives in the Christian religion. 
He taught them some short prayers, in 
the French language, the whole of which 
some of them have not yet forgotten. 

The surrounding country consists chiefly 
of plains; and the soil appears to be richer, 
than that which is farther up the river. 

Tupsday, 30. In the morning, I left Mouse 
River ; and I have with me upwards of forty 
men, in five boats and seven canoes. 

Saturday, June 1. We are now a little 
below what was called the Pine Fort. It 
is twenty years since this fort was built, 
and eleven since it was abandoned. This 
River is now so low, arising from the fact 
that we have had no rain this spring, and 
we have such a number of boats and canoes, 


that we drive the sturgeon upon the sand 
banks, where there is but little water ; and we 
have no difficulty in killing- any number of 
them, that we please. We now subsist entirely 
on these fish; and they are excellent food. 

Thursday, 13. Portage la Prairie, or 
Plain Portage. Here the North West com- 
pany have a miserable fort, the local situa- 
tion of which, is beautiful, beyond any thing 
that I have seen in this part of the world. 
Opposite the fort, there is a plain, which is 
about sixty miles long, and from one to 
ten broad, in the whole extent of which, not 
the least rise of ground is visible. — To this 
place, the Natives resort every spring, to 
take and dry sturgeon. 

Saturday, 15. We are now encamped un- 
der a beautiful range of oaks, which sepa- 
rate the river from a pretty extensive plain. 
Ever since we left Mouse River, the soil on 
each side of the Upper Red River, down which 
we are passing, appears to be excellent, and 
the timber is very different from what it is 
near its source. We here find oak, elm, wal- 
nut, basswood, &c. and I am informed that 
there are grapes and plums in this vicinity. 

Tuesday, 18. Not far from the place 
where* we are now encamped, there is a con- 
siderably large camp of Sauteux. Among 
them I saw another of my unfortunate coun- 
trymen, who, like one of whom I have 
already spoken, was taken from his parents, 
when a child. Thus, has many a fond 


mother, in the frontier settlements, been de- 
prived of her beloved and tender offspring,— 
but this fellow is lost, beyond recovery, 
for he now speaks no other language, but 
that of the Indians, among whom he re- 
sides, and he has adopted all their manners 
and customs; and it would now be as 
difficult to reconcile him to the habits of 
civilized life, as it would be, were he a real 

Wednesday, 19. The Forks. At this place 
the Upper and Lower Red Rivers, form a 
junction. The country around is pleasant, 
the soil appears to be excellent, and it is 
tolerably well timbered with oak, basswood, 
walnut, elm, poplar, aspin, birch, &c. Grape 
vines and plum trees are also seen. 

Friday, 21. We are now encamped at 
the place, where the Red River enters the 
Great Winipick Lake. It is now nearly five 
years since I passed this place, which, at 
first thought, seems but a moment. But 
when I deliberately^ recollect the scenes 
through which I have passed, during that 
space of time, it seems as if I had passed 
the greater part of my days in this 

Monday, 24. We are now at the entrance 
of Winipick River, into the Lake of the same 
name. We, here, find a number of people, 
who are from their respective winter quar- 
ters, and who, like ourselves, are on their 
way to the New Fort. 


Friday, July 5. Rainy Lake. On the 
margin of the waters, which connect this 
lake with the Great Winipick Lake, the wild 
rice is found, of which I have spoken on a 
former occasion. This useful gTain is pro- 
duced in no other part of the North West 
Country ; though Carver erroneously states, 
that it is found every where. It grows in 
water, about two feet deep, where there is 
a rich muddy bottom. It rises more than 
eight feet above the water; and, in appear- 
ance bears a considerable resemblance to oats. 
It is gathered about the latter end of Sep- 
tember, in the following manner. The Natives 
pass in among it in canoes. Each canoe 
has in it two persons, one of whom is in 
each end, with a long hooked stick, in one 
hand, and a straight one in the other. With 
the hooked stick, he brings the heads of the 
grain over the canoe, and holds it there; 
while, with the other, he beats it out. When 
the canoe is thus sufficiently loaded, it is 
taken to the shore and emptied. This mode 
of gathering the wild rice, is evidently more 
simple and convenient, than that which was 
practised in Carver's day. This grain is 
gathered in such quantities, in this region, 
that in ordinary seasons, the North West 
Company purchase, annually, from twelve 
to fifteen hundred bushels of it, from the 
Natives; and it constitutes a principal arti- 
cle of food, at the posts in this vicinity. 

I have here received letters from my friends 


in Vermont, which left them in April last; 
and which have, as usual, afforded me much 

Saturday, 6. Rainy Lake. We are about 
ten miles from the fort, on this lake; and 
have been encamped, during the greater 
part of the day, in order that our people 
may repair their canoes; for they will soon 
be obliged to transport them over a number 
of long portages. 

Monday, 8. Cross Lake. Here we meet 
several canoes which, about the beginning of 
May last, left Montreal, that have goods 
on board, which will be carried in them to 
the Rainy Lake fort, and will thence be 
transported to Athabasca. — At this lake, 
we leave the route which leads to the old 
Grand Portage. 

Tuesday, 9. During the whole of this 
day, we have been crossing small lakes, and 
coming down what deserve the name of 
brooks, rather than rivers. — We have met 
eight canoes, on their way to the Rainy 

Friday, 12. The Plain Portage. In the 
former part of the day, we met, A. N. Mc- 
Leod, Esq. who is now from the New Fort, on 
his way back to Athabasca. We went on 
shore, and took breakfast with him. He 
has taken with him my friend Mr. F. Goe- 
dike, a young man possessed of a good 
understanding, and a humane and generous 
heart, who has been with me for four years 


past, and from whom I could not separate, 
without regret. 

Saturday, July 13. Overtook the Swan 
River people, and entered Nipignon River, 
which is nearly ten rods broad. This and 
Dog's river, excepting a few carrying places, 
on account of rapids and falls, will carry us 
to the New Fort. The land in this vicinity 
is low, and in many places, it is swampy. 
There are few animals in this region, ex- 
cepting moose, bears, and a few beavers 
and martins. This is the rout, by which 
the French, in former times, passed into 
the interiour. The Indians in this quarter, 
are a few Sauteux and Muscagoes. The lat- 
ter, come from towards Hudson's Bay. 

Sunday, 14. Dogs Portage, which is 
about three miles over. After coming down 
Nipignon River, which is nearly fifty miles 
long, we entered the Dog's Lake, which may 
be about forty miles in circumference, and 
by crossing which, we arrived at this place. 

Monday, 15. The Mountain Portage. 
Here the water falls perpendicularly, about 
seventy feet. The North West company have 
here a store house, to which they send pro- 
visions, &c., from the New Fort, as the river 
from this to that place is generall3'^ shallow, 
and is full of rapids. Those, therefore, who 
are going into the interiour, cannot take a 
full load, until they arrive at this place; and 
here they usually take their supply of pro- 


Tuesday, 16. New Fort, or, as it is called 
by the Natives, Ka-mi-ni-ti-qui-n, is built on 
the bank of Dog River, which is a consider- 
able stream, that empties into Lake Supe- 
riour, about four or five hundred rods below 
the fort. The vessel that runs on that lake, 
can come, with a part of her lading, quite 
up to the quay, before the fort. Here the 
French, before the English conquered Canada, 
had an establishment. 

We here meet a number of gentlemen, some 
of whom came this summer from Montreal, 
and others from different parts of the In- 
teriour. There are also here, one thousand 
labouring men, the greater part of whom, are 
Canadians, who answer better in this coun- 
try, for the service required by the Company, 
than any other people would probably do. 

The country, for some considerable dis- 
tance round, is covered with heavy timber, 
consisting of a kind of red pine, poplar, 
aspin, birch, cedar, &c., but the soil does not 
appear to be of the first quality. Potatoes, 
pease, oats, &c., however, grow tolerably 
well here. 

Monday, 22. I have passed several days, 
not unpleasantl3', in the company of a num- 
ber of young gentlemen. They now begin, 
however, to leave this, to return to their 
winter quarters ; and to-morrow, I expect to 
depart, and to proceed for Fort des Prairies. 
As there will be two other young gentlemen 
in the same brigade, whom I know to be 


sociable and pleasant companions, I expect 
to have a pleasant passage to my winter 

WedDesclaji', August 28. During nearlj^ a 
month past we have been coming througli a 
country, which I have already described. We 
are now at the Grand Eapid, where the 
Sisiscatchwin River disembogues into the 
north west part of Great Lake Winipick. 
This is a noble stream, about two hundred 
fathoms broad. 

Thursday, September 5. Cumberland 
House. This fort stands on the north side of 
a considerable lake, called by the Natives, 
who in this vicinity are Muscagoes, Sturgeon 
Lake. The sturgeon are found in consider- 
able plenty, in this lake. This post was es- 
tablished, thirty three years since, by Mr. 
Joseph Frobisher. At this place, the people 
who are destined to Fort des Prairies, and 
those who are proceeding to Athabasca, sep- 
arate. The former go up the Sisiscatchwin 
River, and the latter up the English River 
The latter, is so called, in honour of Mr. 
Joseph Frobisher, an Englishman, who was 
the first trader that ever went into that part 
of the country. — On the 30th ultimo, we 
crossed Lac Bourbon, which is about forty 
miles long, on which the North West Com- 
pany had a fort, formerly ; but it was aban- 
doned, in 1802. There are few mountains or 
hills to be seen, between this place and Lake 
Winipick. The country has a pretty heavy 


growth of timber, and the soil is rich. In the 
lakes and rivers of this region, excellent fish 
*are taken, such as sturgeon, white-fish, cat- 
fish, pike, pickerel, &c. This country abounds 
in fowls, among which are swans, bustards, 
geese^, and many kinds of ducks. Moose are 
found in considerable plenty ; there are a few 
black bears, otters, muskrats and martins; 
and rarely, a beaver is found. 

Snturday, September 21. South Branch 
Fort. This is about one hundred and twenty 
miles above the Fork, or the place where this 
river forms a junction with the North Branch, 
after which, it assumes the name of Sisis- 
catchwin River. Both branches take their 
rise in the Rocky Mountain, though at a dis- 
tance of several hundred miles from each 
other. The South Branch passes through 
large plains ; but the country through which 
the other runs is woody, particularly on the 
north side. From Cumberland House to the 
Fork, the country on both sides of the river 
is covered with wood. In these woods, and 
the small plains that are here and there scat- 
tered among them, moose, red deer, &c., are 
to be found. 

This fort was put up the last summer, and 
two stores were built ; but the dwelling houses 
are still to be constructed. — I am informed 
that buffaloes are in plenty within half a 
day's march from this. There are four tribes 
of Indians, who come to trade at this estab- 
lishment. They are the Crees, Assiniboins, 


Sauteux and Muscagoes. A few also of the 
Black feet Indians resort here. 

In coming up this river, we saw many 
places, where forts have stood, some of which 
were abandoned thirty years since, and some 
at a later period. One, which was situated 
about six miles below tliis, was abandoned 
fifteen years since, on account of an attack 
from the Rapid Indians. The following cir- 
cumstances, in regard to that affair, were 
related to me by Mons. Louis Chattellain, 
who, at that time, had charge of the fort. 
The Hudson Bay Company had a fort in the 
same neighbourhood, which was first at- 
tacked, by about one hundred and fifty 
Indians on horse back; and the few people 
who were in it, excepting one man, who 
secreted himself, were killed. After they had 
taken out of the fort all the property which 
they could conveniently carry away with 
them, they set fire to the fort, and proceeded 
to the establishment of the North West Com- 
pany, which was two hundred rods distant 
from that of Hudson Bay people, with the 
intention of treating it in a similar manner. 

The fort gates had providentially, been 
shut, previously to the approach of the In- 
dians. There were in the fort, three men, and 
several women and cliildreTi. The men took 
their stations in the block houses and bas- 
tions ; and when the Natives had come suffi- 
ciently near, fired upon them. The Indians, 
instantly returned the fire; and the contest 


continued, until the night approached. The 
savage assailants, having had several of their 
party killed, and others severely wounded, 
while the people in the fort had sustained no 
injury, thought it best to retreat ; and after 
dragging their dead and dying into the river, 
they retired. But Mr. Chattellain did not 
think it prudent to remain there any longer. 
Accordingly, the day following, they em- 
barked all their property on board of several 
canoes, and proceeded down the river, about 
two hundred miles, where they commenced 
building another fort. The only object of 
the Indians, in attacking these forts, was 

Mr. William Smith and myself, together 
with fifteen labouring men, &c. are to pass 
the winter here; and a few hundred paces 
from us, the Hudson Bay people have a fort. 

Thursday, October 10. This day, a Cana- 
dian's daughter, a girl of about fourteen 
years of age, was offered to me; and after 
mature consideration, concerning the step 
which I ought to take, I have finally con- 
cluded to accept of her, as it is customary 
for all gentlemen who remain, for any length 
of time, in this part of the world, to have 
a female companion, with whom they can 
pass their time more socially and agreeably, 
than to live a lonely life, as they must do, 
if single. If we can live in harmony together, 
my intention now is, to keep her as long 
as I remain in this uncivilized part of the 


world ; and when I return to my natiA^e land, 
I shall endeavour to place her under the 
protection of some honest man, with whom 
she can pass the remainder of her days in 
this country, much more agreeably, than it 
would be possible for her to do, were she to 
be taken down into the civilized world, to 
the manners, customs and language of which, 
she would be an entire stranger. Her mother 
is of the tribe of the Snare Indians, whose 
country lies along the Rocky Mountain. The 
girl is said to have a mild disposition and 
an even temper, which are qualities very nec- 
essary to make an agreeable woman, and an 
affectionate partner. 

Thursday, November 7. The river froze 
over the last night; but we have yet had 
but little snow. 

Saturday, March 15, 1806. This evening 
the northern express arrived ; and I am sorry 
to learn that no letters have come from 
Athabasca, this season. This failure is owing 
to the great depth of snow in that quarter. — 
Buffaloes have been found in plenty, within 
a few miles of the fort, during the whole 

Tuesday, 25. The snow is chiefly dis- 
solved. We have sent four men, about a 
day's march from this, to make sugar. 

Saturday, April 19. The greater part of 
our Indians have gone to wage war upon 
the Rapid Indians, their inveterate enemies, 
with whom they frequently patch up a peace, 


which, however, is generally of short con- 

Monday, 28. This afternoon, the ice in 
this river broke up. — A few days since, a 
small war party of the Rapid Indians came 
and killed several Assiniboins, who were en- 
camped within fifteen miles of our fort. They 
also stabbed an old woman in several places, 
and scalped her, who, notwithstanding, is 
still alive, and, to appearance, likely to re- 
cover of her wounds. 

Monday, June 2. Last evening, Messrs. 
J. Hughes and Alexander Stewart came here, 
on horse back, from the North Branch* 
which passes within fifteen miles from this. 
There, they left their canoes and people'; 
and on their return, they will continue their 
rout to the New Fort.— Mr. Smith and my- 
self, if providence permit, are to pass the 
summer at this place, wliere we have three 
interpreters, four labouring men, and a num- 
ber of women and children. As my com- 
panion is a sensible, well informed and so- 
ciable young man, I hope to pass my time 
both pleasantly and profitably. 

Friday, August 8. Six Assiniboins have 
arrived, and inform us, that about eighty 
tents of Crees and Assiniboins, with about 
as many of the Black feet Indians, were on 
their way to wage war with the Rapid In- 
dians, their common enemy. But the two 
former tribes quarrelled, in their march, re- 
specting a horse, which they both claimed. 


and which neither would relinquish. This 
circumstance occasioned a battle between 
them, which lasted during a day, in which 
twenty five of the Black feet Indians, and 
three of the Assiniboins, were killed. This 
put an end to the expedition, for this 

Wednesday, September 3. Two men have 
arrived from Cumberland House, situated 
on Sturgeon Lake, who have brought me 
letters from my friends below, which com- 
municate the melancholy intelligence, that 
my father, after a severe illness of but a 
few weeks, expired, on the 25th of June, 
1805. The protector and guide of my youth, 
whom I revered and loved, I shall never 
more see in this world. It would have af- 
forded me inexpressible satisfaction, could I 
have seen and conversed with him, previously 
to his departure. But "the Judge of the 
earth has done right," and "his will be 
done." I am not left to mourn, under this 
severe bereavement, without consolation ; for 
his christian character and profession, afford 
the comfortable hope, that he has ceased to 
sin and to suffer, and now participates in 
blessedness, such as this miserable world can- 
not afford. May his pious example stimu- 
late me, and his other children, to follow 
him in the path which conducts to a better 

I have also received letters from Mr. A, 
N. McLeod, and Mr. J. McDonald, which in- 


form me, that I am to pass the ensuing 
winter at Cumberland House, for which place, 
I shall leave this, a few days hence. 

Tbursdaj, September 11. Cumberland 
House. I arrived here this afternoon, and 
find Messrs. J. Hughes, and David Thomp- 
son, &c. who have just arrived from the 
New Fort, and who are on their way to 
Fort des Prairies. The Hudson Bay people 
have a fort within a hundred rods of ours, 
in the charge of Mr. Peter Fidler. 

Wednesday, 17. Sent Mons. Peras and 
company, with a small assortment of goods, 
to go and pass the winter at Moose Lake, 
which is situated about two days' march 
from this, and nearly west from Lake Winni- 

The Indians, who resort to this estab- 
lishment, are Sauteux and Muscagoes. Moose 
and black bears are pretty abundant in this 
vicinity; and a few beavers are found. We 
subsist principally upon sturgeon and white 
fish, which we take out of the lake. Geese 
and bustards are numerous, in the fall and 
spring. The surrounding country is very 
low and level, so that, at some seasons, 
much of it is overflowed. This accounts for 
the periodical influx and reflux of the water, 
between this lake and the Sisiscatchwin 
River, which are distant six miles. 

Friday, October 3. Hudson Bay people, 
in three canoes, have just arrived from York 
Factory. They bring late news from Eng- 


land ; and inform us, that war continues to 
rage as much as ever, on the continent of 

Friday, 24. We have now about four 
inches of snow; and, the last night, the 
greater part of this lake froze over. — I have 
sent people to the other side of this lake to 
fish for sturgeon, which will weigh from ten 
to One hundred pounds. They are taken in 
spread nets, which is the manner in which 
we generally take all kinds of fish, in this 
country. Some kinds, however, such as trout, 
eat fish and pike, we at times take, by set- 
ting hooks and lines. 

Friday, January 30, 1807. Two of the 
Hudson Bay people arrived from Fort des 
Prairies, who were so obliging as to bring 
me letters from several gentlemen in that 
quarter. The greater part of the North 
West and Hudson Bay people, live on ami- 
cable terms; and when one can with pro- 
priety render a service to the other, it is 
done with cheerfulness. 

Sunday, April 5. The ice in the Sisiscatch- 
win river, is broken up ; and the great quan- 
tity of snow which has recentty been dis- 
solved, has caused that river to rise so high, 
as to give another course to a small river, 
which generally takes its water out of this 
lake, but which now runs into it. 

Saturday, May 28. This lake is free from 
ice; and we have planted potatoes, and 
sowed our garden seeds. — Geese have returned 


from the south, and we now have them in 

Saturday, 30. Mr. John McDonald and 
others, in seven canoes, have just arrived 
from Fort des Prairies, and are on their 
way to the New Fort. 

Sunday, June 7. Grand Rapid. On the 
Ist inst. Mr. John McDonald, myself and 
other people, in seven canoes and one boat, 
left Cumberland House and arrived here, on 
the loth, where we have ever since been, 
stopped by the ice in Lake Winnipick, which 
is not yet broken up. — We here spear as many 
sturgeon as we please, as they are going 
up or down the rapid, which is about six 
miles in length. 

Monday, 8. Lake Winnipick. The last 
night there arose a strong north west wind, 
which broke up the ice, and drove it to the 
north east part of the lake. We, therefore, 
embarked this morning, and have sailed all 

Tuesday, 16. White River. In the morn- 
ing we left the fort, at the entrance of Lake 
Winnipick River, and this afternoon, Mr. A. 
N. McLeod and company, from Athabasca, 
overtook us. With this gentleman, to whom 
I am under many obligations, I am happy 
to spend an evening, after so long a sepa- 

Saturday, July 4. Xew Fort. Once more, 
I have arrived at the general rendezvous, 
and find myself among mv friends and ac- 


quaintances, from different parts of the coun- 
try. — Here I have received letters from my 
friends below, which inform me of their health 
and reasonable prosperity. It is a great 
satisfaction thus to hear from them; but 
this satisfaction would be greatly increased, 
could I be permitted to see and converse 
with them. Although the seven years, for 
which I was under an engagement to the 
North West Company, have now expired, I 
cannot with the least degree of propriety, as 
I think, gratify the ardent desire which I 
have of seeing my friends, by going down 
this year. And when the happy time will 
come, that I shall visit them, God only 
knows. It is trying to a person who has the 
least affection for his friends, to be separated 
from them, for such a series of years, in such 
a savage country. My duty and happiness, 
however, require that I endeavour to make 
the best of my situation. Notwithstanding 
the bad examples which we daily witness, a 
person can be as virtuous in this, as in any 
other part of the world. True it is, if a per- 
son were here to lead a really religious life, 
he would find but few associates, who would 
directly encourage him in his course. But 
this is in a great measure true in every part 
of the world. 

Sunday, July 10. This, which was former- 
ly called the New Fort, is now named Fort 
William, in honour of William McGilvray, 
Esq. the head agent of the North West Com- 


pany. At the time of giving this name, the 
Company made a present to their Voyagers, 
of a considerable quantity of spirits, shrub, 
&c. and also a similar present to the Indians, 
encamped about the fort. 

As I am still in ill health, I shall pass the 
winter with Doctor McLaughlin, at Sturgeon 
Lake, in the department . of Nipigon, which 
lies to the north west from this. 

Saturdciy, 25. This afternoon, in company 
with three canoes, I left Fort William; and 
we are now encamped on an island, in Lake 

Monday, August 3. First long Portage 
in the Xipigon Road. We yesterday, sepa- 
rated from Messrs. Chaboillez and Leith, who 
have gone to winter at the Pic and Michip- 
cotton ; and to day, we left Lake Superiour, 
and have come up a small river. 

Tuesday, 4. South west end of Lake Xipi- 
gon. This lake is said to be one hundred 
and fifty miles in length, and from one, to 
twenty, broad. Trout are here taken, supe- 
riour to those that are found in any other 
part of the North West country, which will 
weigh upwards of seventy pounds, and are 
of an excellent quality. — The country through 
which we have passed in coming to this place 
from Lake Superiour, is rocky and contains 
but little wood, of any kind. Whortleberries 
are found in plenty. 

Friday, 1. Fort Duncan, at the north end 
of Lake Xipigon. The surrounding country 


is very rough ; but where the ground is arable 
the soil appears to be good.— Moose and 
carriboo are found in this vicinity ; and there 
are, also, a few black bears, beavers, otters, 
muskrats, martins, &c. Great numbers of 
white fish are taken out of the lake, par- 
ticularly in the fall of the year. These are 
hung up by their tails, in the open air, and 
are preserved good, in a frozen state, during 
the winter. Most people prefer those that 
have been thus kept, to fish that are taken 
immediately out of the water. 

Sunday, 9. In the morning, we sent off 
three canoes, and in the after part of the 
day, some of the people returned, with the 
melancholy intelligence, that one of their 
companions was drowned, in going up a 
small rapid. The canoe overset, and most 
of the property on board, was lost. The 
other persons, who were in it, saved them- 
selves by swimming to the shore. 

Thursday, 13. In the morning, Mr. Hol- 
dane, the Doctor and myself, with our com- 
pany, left fort Duncan, where Mr. R. Mc- 
Kenzie will pass the ensuing winter. There, 
also, we separated from two Messrs. Camer- 
ons, whose route is northward, towards Hud- 
son's Bay. Our course is nearly south west. 

Monday, 24. Portage du Fort, or Stur- 
geon Lake. Here, we arrived, yesterday ; and 
this morning, Mr. Holdane and his com- 
pany left us, to continue their route to Red 
Lake. The Doctor and I, with our company, 


shall leave this tomorrow, to go and build 
at the other end of this lake, which may be 
about forty miles long, and from one to five 
broad. — The country through which we have 
passed, since we loft Fort Duncan, is low and 
level ; no mountains, or even hills, are to 
be seen ; in many places it is swampy, and 
small lakes and ponds and rivers and brooks 
are numerous. Where the land is dry, the 
soil appears to be principally a black loam. — 
This tract of country was formerly well 
stocked with beavers and otters; but they 
have now become scarce, as they have been 
hunted by the Natives, during more than the 
last hundred years. Moose and carriboo are 
{:=- still considerably numerous, in this region. 

Tuesday, September 1. Our people are 
erecting houses for our winter habitations. 
We now take white fish in considerable num- 
bers. — The Indians, who frequent this post, 
are Sauteux and Muscagoes. 

Saturday, October 3. We sent people to 
the other end of this lake, to make a fall 
fishery. They will take white fish, trout, 
pike, carp, &c., which constitutes the prin- 
cipal food for those who are in the Nipigon 
country. In this country, which is at least 
seven hundred miles long and five or six 
hundred broad, more people have starved to 
death, than in all the rest of the Indian 
country. At this lake, several years since, 
eleven Canadians lost their lives for want of 
food. We experience at present, no difficulty 


in this respect; and -I am of opinion that 
the distresses of our predecessors were, in a 
considerable measure, owing to the want of 
good management. 

Monday, Xoveinhor 9. Our people have 
returned, and inform us, that they have 
caught only fourteen hundred fish of all de- 
scriptions. These, however, with what corn, 
flour, wild rice and meat we have, together 
with the trout which we hope to take with 
set hooks and lines, as soon as the lake is 
frozen over, will, we expect, furnish us with 
a comfortable subsistence, during the winter. 
We are in a solitary place, where we see no 
one, excepting the Natives; and they are 
few in number, compared with those, among 
whom I have formerly been. Happily for us, 
we have a few good books ; and in perusing 
them, we shall pass the greater part of the 
time. The Doctor, who is of about the same 
age with myself, is an excellent companion, 
and fond of conversation ; and I trust, that 
a friendly intercourse will mutually cheer our 
spirits, and that we shall spend the winter 
in a manner, that will be both pleasant and 
profitable. — We have now about four inches 
of snow, which will probably remain with 
us through the winter. 

Sunday, 15. The last night, this lake froze 

Friday, December 4. We now take great 
numbers of excellent trout from under the 
ice, with hooks and lines. 


Early this morning-, the woman whom I 
have taken to reside with me, became the 
mother of a boy, whom I name George 

Monday, December 28. Doctor McLaugh- 
lin, accompanied by two Canadians and one 
of the Natives, has gone to visit Mr. Hol- 
dane, at Red Lake. 

Friday, February 19, 1808. The Doctor 
and company have returned, from their long 
jaunt; and I am happy in again enjoying 
his society, after a season of comparative 

Another year of my life is gone, which 
makes me thirty years of age. This anni- 
versary leads me to reflect on the rapid flight 
of time, and the brevity of human life. \Mien 
I attentively consider these things, it seems 
surprising that we should encounter so much 
difficulty and labour in the acquisition of 
property, which, if it could minister more 
effectually to our enjoyment than it does, 
we must very soon relinquish forever. 

Friday, May 13. The Doctor, with one 
man in a small canoe, has set off for Fort 
William, where he will be wanted, as soon 
as he can arrive, to attend on the sick. 
Among the great number who visit that 
rendezvous every summer, there are always 
some, who need medical aid ; though I firmly 
believe, that no part of the world is more 
healthy than this.— The Doctor has not been 
able to learn, to his satisfaction, what my 


complaint is. I think that the medicines, 
which I have taken, in the course of the win- 
ter, have been of essential service to me ; and 
I hope, before long to regain my former 
state of good health. 

The Indians of this place have subsisted, 
during the greater part of the past winter, 
upon hares.— There is an old Sauteux woman 
here, who compels her own son to have 
criminal intercourse with her. 

Thursdiiy, June 9. Portage dv Fort. 
Here, we shall wait the arrival of the people 
of this department ; and we shall then con- 
tinue our route, with them to Fort William. 
It is nine months and fifteen days since I 
passed this place, the last autumn, in going 
into the country, which evinces that our 
winter has been long; and I may add too, 
that it has been dreary. But we have rea- 
son to be thankful to God, that we have 
not suffered at all, for the want of the means 
of subsistence. 

Wednesday, 22. Fort Duncan. The people 
for whom we were waiting at Portage du 
Fort, arrived on the 12th, and the day 
following, we set out for this place, which we 
reached this afternoon. 

Saturday, 2'i. Yesterday, we left fort Dun- 
can, and came to an island in Lake Nipigon, 
on which we are now encamped, and where 
we intend to pass a few days, in fishing for 
trout, which are here in plenty, and are of 
an excellent quality. 


Thursdny, July 7. Yesterday morning, I 
arrived at Fort William, where I had only 
time to read my letters from vaj friends be- 
low, and answer them, and prepare myself 
for a long journey. This afternoon I em- 
barked for Athabasca, in company with iVIr. 
J. G. McTavish; and both of us are to re- 
main at the place of our destination, for 
three years, at least. 

Wednesday, 20. Rainy Lake. We here 
find all the Athabasca people, excepting one 
brigade, which is expected daily. 

Saturday, 22. Ever since my arrival 
here, we have been busily employed in pre- 
paring to leave this place, for our winter 

Tuesday, 26. Rainy Lake River. In the 
morning, I left the fort in company with 
Mr. Archibald McGillivray. Our brigade con- 
sists of ten canoes. 

Friday, 29. Portage de L'Isle, in Winni- 
pick River. In the morning, we met Mr. 
David Thomson and company from the 
Columbia River. 

Monday, August 1. LakeWinnipiek. This 
morning, we arrived at the fort on this lake, 
where we remained until noon. \Miile there, 
I wrote to my old friend Mr. William Henry, 
who is at the Lower Red River. I also 
received a letter from him, in which he in- 
forms me, that his fort was attacked this 
summer, by a considerable party of Sieux. 
Two shots, from cannon in the block houses. 


however, caused them to retire, in doing 
which, they threatened that they would be- 
fore long, return and make another attempt 
to take the fort. — The Sieux are a numerous 
tribe of Indians, who are scattered over a 
large tract of land, that lies between the 
Mississippi and Missouri rivers ; and they are 
said to be the greatest villains, in this part 
of the world. They are the same tribe that 
Carver distinguishes, by the name of Naudo- 

Saturday, 6. Grand Rapid, at the north 
west end of Lake Winnipick. The wind has 
been high, during the day ; and in the latter 
part of it, one of our canoes filled with water. 
Happily, it was near an island, when this 
disaster happened. The people were, how- 
ever, under the necessity of throwing a part 
of their property overboard. 

We find here Mons. PerigTie, who was for- 
merly a clerk to the North West Company, 
but who, as he informs me, has lately been 
to Canada, and has come up on his own 
account. He has brought up a few goods, 
to enable him to carry on a small traffick 
with the Natives. He, also, intends, occasion- 
ally to hunt the beaver, &c., himself. But 
I am convinced, that, at this great distance 
from the place of market for furs, the trade 
cannot be profitably carried on, unless it 
be done on a large scale, which requires a 
greater capital than an individual can em- 
bark in this undertaking. The experiment 


lias been made, in a number of instances; 
and it has uniformly failed. 

Friday, 12. Cumberland House. From 
this place, I shall take a route, which I have 
never before travelled. 

Saturday, 13. Entrance of River Maligne, 
or Bad River. This is a considerable river, 
which runs into Sturgeon Lake. 

Sunday, 14. Beaver Lake. The greater 
part of the day, we have employed in com- 
ing up the river last mentioned, which, 
through its whole course, has a continual 
succession of rapids. The country around is 
low, and the timber, like that of the North 
West country generally, is small. 

Tuesday, 16. Pelican Lake. Most of the 
day has been passed in crossing Lac Mar- 

Wednesday, 17. Portage du Forte de 
Trait e, or Trading Fort Portage. This was 
so named, from a circumstance which occurred 
here, thirty four years since. Mr. Joseph 
Frobisher and company, who were the first 
traders who ever came into this quarter, 
here met a large band of Natives, whose 
canoes were loaded with furs, which they 
were taking to York Factory, at Hudson's 
Bay. He succeeded in bartering his goods 
for their furs, which amounted to more than 
he could take to headquarters, the next sea- 
son. He therefore built a fort, and, with his 
people passed several winters here; and at 
that time, it was the most northern post, 


belonging either to the North West, or the 
Hudson Bay Companj". 

All the waters from this side of the port- 
age, pass through Lake W'innipick, and 
finally fall into Hudson's Bay, at York Fac- 
tory. But, on the other side of the portage, 
which is about half a mile over, the stream, 
which is called Mis-sin-ni-pi or Great River, 
runs in a different direction, and enters Hud- 
son's Bay, at Churchill Factory, which is the 
most northern post belonging to the Hudson 
Bay Company. The river last mentioned, 
is called, by the Hudson Bay people, Church- 
ill River, and by the people from Canada, 
English River. 

Thursday, August 18. This afternoon we 
obtained some dried meat from the Natives, 
which we find much more palatable than the 
salted provisions, on which we have subsisted, 
ever since we left Fort William. In the In- 
teriour we never make use of salted pro- 
visions ; not, however, for want of salt, which 
is found in most parts of the country, and 
which can be obtained in plenty, at all our 

Tuesday, 23. Isle a la Cross Lake. Ever 
since we left Portage du Forte de Traite, we 
have been in what may with propriety, be 
called the f^nglish River, though it passes 
through several small lakes; and in this 
river, our way has been obstructed by thirty 
six portages. 

Thursday, 25. Isle la Cross fori. This 



fort stands on the north side of the lake of 
the same name, is well built and has at- 
tached to it an excellent kitchen garden. 
Out of the lake, the best of white fish are 
taken, during the whole year; and it is the 
only place in this country, in which these 
fish can be taken, at all seasons. — The In- 
dians who come to this establishment, are 
Chippewyans, in considerable numbers, and 
a few Crees. I am informed that there are, 
in this vicinity, many moose and cariboo, 
and a few black bears, beavers, otters, cats, 
&c. The country is low; and scarcely any 
mountains are to be seen. 

Tuesday, 30. East end of Portage la 
Loche, or Loach Portage. This is so named, 
from a neighbouring lake, where these fish are 
taken, in abundance. This portage is twelve 
miles over; and across it, the people are 
obliged to transport both canoes and lading. 
The road, however, is excellent, through a 
level country, thinly wooded with cypress. 
In coming here from Isle la Cross, we have 
passed two considerable lakes, and come up 
a small river, which is between those lakes. 
The country Jbhrough which we have passed, 
is generally level, and the soil is tolerably 
good. The streams, before we cross this 
portage, discharge themselves into Hudson's 
Bay at Churchill Factory; but afterward, 
the water, after passing through Athabasca, 
Great Slave, and other lakes, enters the 
North Sea. 


Saturday, September 3. North west end of 
Portage la Locbe. We here find a small 
band of Chippewyans, who assist our people 
in transporting- our property across the port- 
age, and who supply us with provisions, 
which we very much need, since our former 
stock is nearly exhausted. 

About a mile from tins end of the portage 
is a hill, which towers majestically, to the 
height of a thousand feet, above the plain 
below; and which commands a most exten- 
sive and delightful prospect. Two lofty and 
extensive ridges, enclose a valley, about 
three miles in width, wiiich stretches, far as 
the eye can reach. The Little River, which is, 
also, by different persons, denominated Swan, 
Clear water, or Pelican River, winds, in a 
most delightful manner, along this charming 
valley. The majestick forests, which wave 
upon these ridges, the delightful verdure of 
the intervening lawn, and the beautiful 
stream, which wanders along through it, 
giving a pleasing variety to the scene, until 
these objects become blended with the hori- 
zon, form, on the whole, the most delightful, 
natural scenery, that I ever beheld. 

Sunday, 4. In the morning, we left the 
Portage; and are now in Little Athabasca 
River; which is about twenty rods wide. 

Tuesday, 6. We are now in the Great 
Athabasca River, whicli is about three quar- 
ters of a mile in breadth. In the early part 
of the day, we passed the Fork, where Little 


Athabasca river and Red deer, or as some 
call it, Elk river, form a junction. — At a small 
distance from Portage la Loche, the navigja- 
tion of the river is interrupted by several 
carrying places, in about the middle of which, 
are some mineral springs, that are evidently 
impregnated with sulphur, as appears by the 
incrustations on their margins. At about 
twenty miles from the Fork, several bitu- 
minous fountains are found, into which a 
pole of twenty feet in length, may be plunged, 
without the least resistance. The bitumen, 
which is in a fluid state, is mixed with gum, 
or the resinous substance collected from the 
spruce fir, and is used for gumming canoes. 
\\Tien heated, it emits a smell, like that of 
sea coal. — There are some places, along this 
river, which are of many miles- in extent, 
where there is scarcely a tree standing. They 
were killed by the fire, and were then thrown 
down by the winds. At these places, a few 
J ^^ buffaloes, moose and cariboo, are found. 

Wednesday, 7. Fort Cbippewyan. This 
fort stands on a rocky point, at the south 
western end of Athabasca . Lake, or, as some 
call it, the Lake of the Hills.— This is the 
general rendezvous for all Athabasca. Here 
the goods are set apart for all the different 
posts, in this extensive department; and to 
this place, the greater number of persons 
who have the charge of these j)08ts, come 
every fall, to receive their merchandise from 
those, who have brought it from the Rainy 


Lake.— This plax^e is in N. Lat. 58° 40' and 
W. Long. 111°. 

A few Crees, and a greater number of 
Chippewyans, resort to this establishment. 
The latter tribe were accustomed, formerly, 
to take their furs to Churchill Factory, at 
Hudson's Bay. They were, generally, six 
months in performing the journey ; and many 
of them have actually starved to death, on 
their return home, as the country through 
which they passed, is almost destitute of 
game. — This lake is, in no part of it, more 
than fifteen miles wide; but it is, at least, 
two hundred miles long, and extends east- 
wardly, toward Churchill Factory. 

About sixty miles from this, down Slave 
River, there are several places, where almost 
any quantity of excellent, clean, white salt 
may be taken, with as much ease, as sand, 
along the sea shore. From these places, the 
greater part of the North West is supplied 
with this valuable article. 

The country around this place, is low and 
level, and, in the spring of the year, much 
of it is covered with water. A few moose are 
found, in this vicinity; but, the fish of the 
lake form the principal dependence for food, 
and they are abundant, and of an excellent 
quality. — Every fall and spring, bustards and 
geese are found in greater numbers, than in' 
any other part of the North West. 

Wednesday, 21. Ever since my arrival in 
this place, people, from almost every corner 


of this extensive department, have been 
flocking in, some of vvlioni are from more 
than a thousand miles down McKenzie's 
River, which is nearly north west from this. 
Others are from Great Slave Lake and Peace 
River. Mr. Simon Frazer has just returned 
from the Pacific Ocean. The last spring, ac- 
companied by two other gentlemen, twelve 
Canadians, and two of the Natives, he set 
out from New Caledonia, on the west side of 
the Rocky Mountain, on this tour. Mr. 
Frazer states, that his party met with some 
ill treatment from the Indians who live along 
the sea coast, but that they were hospitably 
received by those who reside farther up the 
country. The Indians in that quarter, he 
says, are less scattered than those who live 
on this side of the Rocky Mountain, and 
reside, not in tents, but in houses or huts, 
constructed of wood. He also reports, that 
the country through which they passed, is 
far from being well stocked with beavers, 
or any other kind of animals; and that the 
Natives subsist principally upon fish. 

Thursday, 22. This afternoon, in com- 
pany with a number of persons, in several 
canoes, I left Fort Chippewyan; and, after 
coming two miles in Athabasca Lake, we en- 
tered a small river, which is about thirty 
six miles long, and which now runs out of 
that Lake into Peace river; but, when this 
river is high, it discharges itself into the 


Friday, 23. Peace River. Tliis river is 
about seventy rods in breadth, and has a 
gentle current. It rises on the west side of 
the Rocky Mountain, at the distance of 
nearly a thousand miles from this. Below 
this, it assumes the name of Slave River; 
and, after a course of one hundred and forty 
or fifty miles, it discharges itself into Great 
Slave Lake. 

Sunday, October 2. Fort Vermillion. To 
this post, great numbers of Beaver Indians 
bring their furs; and there are a few Iro- 
quois, also, from Canada, who hunt in this 
vicinity. — About sixty miles below this, where 
the river is about thirty rods wide, there is a 
fall, of about twenty feet. Through the whole 
course, from this fall, nearly to the Rocky 
Mountain, at a little distance from the river, 
on each side, there are plains of considerable 
extent, which afford pasture for numerous ^^ 
herds of the buffaloe, the red deer or el^,-^-^ 
and a few moose. Great numbers of black 
bears are found, that feed on the berries, 
which are abundant on the hills, on both 
sides of the river. 

Friday, 7. Encampment island Fort. 
This place is, also established, for the purpose 
of trading with the Beaver Indians. They 
are the only Indians who live along this 
noble river, excepting a few Crees, who oc- 
casionally come to this quarter, from the 
Lesser Slave Lake. 

Monday, 10. Dun vegan. This is a well 


built fort, pleasantly situated, with plains on 
each side of the river, in N. Lat. 56° and 
W. Lon. 119°. 

About the Fort a number of Iroquois 
hunters and a band of Beaver Indians, have 
encamped, who have been waiting our ar- 
rival, in order to obtain the articles which 
they need. At this place I expect to pass the 
ensuing winter. There will, also, be here, 
Messrs. D. McTavish, J. G. McTavish, J. 
McGillivray, thirty two labouring men, nine 
women and several children, which renders 
this place very different from my solitary 
abode the last ^\inter. 

Our principal food will be the flesh of the 
buffaloe, moose, red deer and bear. We have 
a tolerably good kitchen garden ; and we are 
in no fear that we shall want the means of a 
comfortable subsistence. Wehave,also, a pro- 
vision for the entertainment and improve- 
ment of our minds, in a good collection of 
books. The gentlemen who are to remain 
with me, are enlightened, sociable and pleas- 
ant companions; and I hope, therefore, to 
spend a pleasant and a profitable winter. 

Friday, 14. This morning, my old friend 
Mr. F. Goedike, whom I have been happj' to 
meet at this place, left us, with his company, 
for St. Johns, which is about one hundred 
and twenty miles up this river, where he is 
to pass the ensuing winter. 

Saturday, Xoveniber 12. About a foot of 
snow has fallen. 


Tuesday, December 20. During the last 
night, this river froze over; and, at nine 
o'clock this morning, the thermometer was 
at 40 degTees below 0. 

Wednesday, January 4, 1809. Sent the 
express to the Lesser Slave Lake, which lies 
about two hundred and fifty miles to the 
south east from this, whence it will be for- 
warded to Fort des Prairies. 

Wednesday, March 1. A band of our In- 
dians have come in, who went a considerable 
distance to the northward, the last autumn, 
in search of beavers. They state, that where 
they were, the snow fell to an extraordinary 
depth, in consequence of which, they suffered 
greatly for want of provisions. In this vi- 
cinity, the snow was, at no time, more than 
two feet and an half deep. 

Monday, 20. The snow is fast dissolving.— 
Mr. A. R. McLeod and company, have just 
arrived from the Encampment Island ; and 
they bring the melancholj' intelligence of the 
death of Mr. Andrew McKenzie, natural son 
of Sir Alexander McKenzie. He expired at 
Fort Vermillion, on the Ist inst. The death 
of this amiable 3'oung man, is regretted by 
all who knew him. — Thej^, also, inform us, 
that several Canadians have lost their lives 
by famine, in the vicinity of Great Slave 
Lake. Those who survived, were under the 
necessity of subsisting, several (lays, upon 
the flesh of their dead companions. It is 
reported, that one man killed his wife and 


cliild, in order to supply liimself with food, 
who, afterwards, himself starved to death. 
These Canadians came up into this part of 
the world, free, to hunt the beaver, &c. and 
they were at too great a distance from our 
establishments, to receive any aid from us, 
until it was too late, for the greater part of 

It is not unfrequently the case, that, the 
surviving part of a band of the Natives, sub- 
sist upon the flesh of their dead companions, 
when compelled to do it for want of other 
food, sufficient to sustain life. I know a 
woman who, it is said ate of no less than 
fourteen of her friends and relations, during 
one winter. In the summer season, the In- 
dians can find food, almost an 3^ where; but 
the case is far otherwise, when the ground is 
covered with snow, to the depth of several 

Weclnesdny, 22. Sent people to look for 
birch bark, to make canoes, to take out our 
returns to the Rainy Lake. The greater part 
of the canoes, in which we bring our mer- 
chandise into the country, will not answer 
to transport our furs below. 

Thursday, April 6. The weather is mild. 
The people, whom we sent for bark, have re- 
turned, with one hundred and eighty fathoms, 
which will make nine canoes, that will carry 
about two tons burthen, each. Two men 
will easily transport one of them on their 
shoulders, across the portages. 


Tuesday, 11. Geese and bustards beg-in to //^ 
come from the south. 

Tuesday, 18. This morning-, the ice in this 
river broke up. 

Saturday, May 6. The surrounding- plains 
are all on fire. — We have planted our pota- 
toes, and sowed most of our garden seeds. — 
Our people are preparing to set out for the 
Rainy Lake. 

Thursday, 11. We, yesterday, sent off 
eleven canoes, loaded with the returns of this 
place and of St. John's; and, early this morn- 
ing, Messrs. D. McTavish, J. G. McTavish, 
F. Goedike and J. McGillivray, embarked on 
board of two light canoes, bound for the 
Rainy Lake and Fort William. But I am to 
pass the ensuing summer, at this place. — The 
last winter was, to me, the most agreeable 
one that I have yet spent in this country*. 
The greatest harmony prevailed among us, 
the days glided on smoothly, and the winter 
passed, almost imperceptibly, away. 

Tuesday, 16. In the morning, Messrs. 
Simon Frazer and James McDougall and 
company, arrived, in four canoes. The former 
gentleman came from the Rocky Mountain 
Portage, which is about one hundred and 
eighty miles, up this River. The later is from 
New Caledonia, on the west side of the Rocky 
Mountain, which is distant from this, about 
four hundred and fifty miles. After passing 
the most of the day with me, they con- 
tinued their route toward the Rainy Lake. 


Friday, June 2. The seeds which we sowed 
in the garden, have sprung up, and grow re- 
markably well. The present prospect is, 
that strawberries, red raspberries, shad ber- 
ries, cherries, «S:c., will be abundant, this sea- 

This river since the beginning of May, has 
risen twelve feet perpendicularly ; and it still 
continues to rise. This circumstance arises, 
in part, from the large quantity of rain, 
which has lately fallen, but more, I presume, 
from the dissolving of the snow, on and near 
the Rocky Mountain. 

Tuesday, 13. An Indian has come here, 
who says, that one of their chiefs has lately 
died ; and he requests that we furnish a chief's 
clothing to be put on him, that he may be 
decently interred; and, also, that we would 
supply a small quantity of spirits, for his 
relations and friends to drink, at his inter- 
ment ; all of wliich I have sent, for the de- 
ceased was a friendly Indian. Nothing pleases 
an Indian better, than to see his deceased 
relatives, handsomelj^ attired; for he be- 
lieves that they will arrive in the other world, 
in the same dress, with which they are clad, 
when they are consigned to the grave. 

Wednesday, July 19. A few days since, 
Mr. John Stuart and company, came here, 
from New Caledonia, for goods; and to day, 
they set out on their return home. During 
the few days which that gentleman passed 
here, I derived much satisfaction from his 


society. We rambled about the plains, con- 
versing fis we went, and now and then stop- 
ping, to eat a few berries, which are ever}- 
where to be found. He has evidenth' read 
and reflected much. How happy should I be 
to have such a companion, during the whole 
summer. But such is our mode of life in 
this country, that we meet but seldom ; and 
the time that we remain together, is short. 
We only begin to find the ties of friendship, 
binding us closely together, when we are 
compelled to separate, not to meet again 
perhaps for years to come. 

Baptiste La Fleur, my interpreter, will 
accompany Mr. Stuart and his men, as far as 
St. John's, in hopes of obtaining some in- 
formation respecting his brother, who, it is 
supposed, was killed by an Indian, the last 
spring, while on his was from the Rocky 
Mountain Portage to St. John's. 

Wednesday, July 19. Baptiste La Fleur 
has returned from St. Johns, without having 
been able to obtain the least intelligence, re- 
specting his poor brother, and the two In- 
dians, who were coming down the river, in 
the same canoe with him. We are, therefore, 
apprehensive that all three of them have 
been drowTied, in coming down the rapids, 
as their canoe was made of the bark of the 
spruce fir tree, and was, therefore, very 

Friday, 21. We have cut down our bar- 
ley; and I think it is the finest that I ever 


saw in any country. The soil on the points 
of land, along- this river is excellent* 

The mother of the chief, who died this 
summer, and who is far advanced in years, 
now remains in a tent, at the distance of a 
few rods from the fort. Many of the Natives, 
of both sexes, when they become old and in- 
firm, and unable to travel. with their rela- 
tions, who depend upon the chase for sub- 
sistence, and are frequently moving from 
place to place, settle down near our fort ; 
and it is easy for us to render them more 
effectual aid, than their friends could possi- 
bly afford them. 

Almost every day, just as the sun is sink- 
ing below the horizon, the old lady, above 
mentioned, goes to the place where her de- 
ceased son, when alive, was accustomed to 
encamp, when he came to the fort, and there 
weeps, and sings a mournful kind of song, of 
which the following is a translation. "My 
dear son, come to me ! why do you leave 
me, my son?" This she repeats for two 
hours together, in the most plaintive and 
melancholy tone imaginable. 

It is customary for the women, among 
the Beaver Indians, when they lose a near 
relation, to cut off a joint of one of their 
fingers ; and, in consequence of so barbarous 
a custom, we frequently see some of their 
aged women, who want the first two joints 
of every finger, on both hands. The men 
content themselves, on such occasions, by 


cutting off their hair, close to their heads, 
and by scratching or cutting their faces and 
arms, frequently' in a most barbarous and 
shocking manner. 

The Beaver Indians are a peaceable and 
quiet people, and. perhaps, the most honest 
of any, on the face of the earth. Theft is 
rarely committed among them; and when one 
of their tribe is known to have stolen, he is 
regarded with a detestation, like that which 
follows a highwaj'man in civilized countries. 

Formerh', their clothing was made of the 
skins of the buffaloe, moose, and red deer, 
and their arms were bows and arrows; but 
the greater part of them, are now clothed 
with European goods, and are supplied with 
fire arms. They have, also, iron axes and 
knives, in the place of those which were made 
of atone and of bone. 

Friday, September 1. Fowls begin to 
leave the north, to go to the southward. 

Friday, October 6. As the weather be- 
gins to be cold, we have taken our vegeta- 
bles out of the ground, which we find to 
have been very productive. 

Saturday, 7. Mr. A. R. McLeod and com- 
pany, passed this place, to-day, in three 
canoes, which are on their way to the Rocky 
Mountain Portage, and thence to New Cale- 
donia. This gentleman delivered me letters, 
not only from different persons in this coun- 
try, but also from my relatives below. To 
be informed, in this way, of the health and 


prosperity of the latter, to attend to the ef- 
fusions of their hearts, and a detail of many 
of the circumstances of their lives, transports 
me in imagination, for a short season, into 
the midst of their societ}', and communi- 
cates a pleasure resembling that of personal 
intercourse. Excellent invention of letters ! 
thus to enable us to keep up a kind of con- 
versation with beloved friends, while sepa- 
rated from them by thousands of miles. 

Sunday, February 25, 1810. On the even- 
ing of the loth inst. my woman was de- 
livered of two living boys. They appear, 
however, to have been prematurely born; 
and, from the first, little hope was en- 
tertamed that they would long survive. 
One of them died on the morning of the 
22d, and the other the last night; and to- 
day, they were both buried in the same 
coffin. He who gave them life, has taken 
it away. He had an undoubted right so 
to do; and though his ways are to us, 
inscrutable, he has the best reasons for what- 
ever he does. It becomes us, therefore, hum- 
bly to acquiesce in this afflictive dispensa- 

Tbursclay, May 3. This day, the ice in the 
river broke up. 

Tuesday, 15. Early this morning, Mr. D. 
McTavish and company, set out for Fort 
William; and this afternoon, Mr. J. Clarke 
and company, from St. John's, passed this, 
on their way to the Rainy Lake. But I 


shall remain, if providence permit, at this 
place, during- another summer. The local 
situation is pleasant ; and we have good 
horses, by means of whicli, I can, at pleas- 
ure make excursions into the surrounding- 
plains, over which are scattered buffaloes, 
moose, red deers, antelopes, black and grey 
bears, &c. I shall have no intelligent com- 
panion, -with whom to converse. But this 
deficiency will be in a measure supplied, by 
a good collection of books, with which I am 
furnished. Were it not for this resource, 
many a dreary day would pass over me. 

Tuesday, 22. Messrs. J. Stuart, and H. 
Faries and company, passed this place in 
four canoes, with the returns of New Cale- 
donia and Eocky Mountain Portage; and, 
like many others, they are on their way to 
the Rainy Lake. 

Saturday, June 23. The last night was so 
cold, that the tops of our potatoes were 
frozen. This morning, as several red deer 
were crossing from the opposite side of the 
river, one of our people leaped into a canoe, 
and pursued them, and succeeded in kiUing 
one of them, 

Thursday, September 13. Two men have 
arrived from New Caledonia, who bring the 
disagreeable intelligence, that salmon, this 
season, do not come up the rivers of that 
region, as usual. As this kind of fish forms 
the principal article of food, both for the 
Natives and white people, it is apprehended 


that they will all be under the necessity of 
proceeding; towards the Pacific Ocean, until 
they find a people who have been more 
favoured by Providence. 

Wednesday, October 3. We have taken 
our potatoes out of the ground, and find, 
that nine bushels, which we planted the 10th 
of May last, have produced a little more 
than one hundred and fifty bushels. The 
other vegetables in our garden have yielded 
an increase, much in the same proportion, 
which is suflScient proof, that the soil of the 
points of land, along this river, is good. 
Indeed, I am of opinion, that wheat, rye, 
barley, oats, pease, &c. would grow well in 
the plains around us. 

Saturday, October 6. Mr. John Stuart 
and company, in four canoes, have arrived 
from Fort Chippewyan, having on board, 
goods for the establishment at the Rocky 
Mountain Portage and New Caledonia. This 
gentleman delivered me a packet of letters 
from home, and also a number of others 
from gentlemen in this country, one of which 
is a joint letter, signed by three of the part- 
ners, requesting me to go and superintend 
the affairs of New Caledonia; or, if I prefer 
it, to accompany Mr. Stuart, as second in 
command to him, until the next spring, at 
which time it is presumed, that I shall have 
learned sufficient of the state of things in 
that country, to assume the whole man- 
agement myself. As Mr. Stuart has passed 


several years in that part of the country, 
the information which his experience will 
enable him to afford me, will be of gTeat 
service. I }>refer, therefore, accompanying* 
him, to going- alone, especially in view of the 
late unfavourable reports from that coun- 
try, in regard to the means of subsistence. 

Wednesday, October 10. St. Johns. On 
the 7th Mr. Stuart and myself, with our 
company, left Dunvegan ; and this evening, 
we arrived here. The current in the river 
begins to be much stronger than we found 
it below Dunvegan. On both sides of the 
river, are hills of a considerable height, 
which are almost destitute of timber of any 
kind. At different places, we saw buffaloes, 
red deer, and bears. During our passage 
to this place, the weather has been bad. The 
snow and rain have been very unpleasant, 
unprotected against them, as we are, in our 
open canoes. 

Thursday, 11. In the early part of the 
da}^, our people were busily emploj'ed in pre- 
paring provisions to take with us to New 
Caledonia. This afternoon, Mr. Stuart and 
compan}' embarked in three canoes, for the 
Rock}' Mountain Portage. Having a little 
business still to transact, I shall pass the 
night here. 

Monday, 15. Rocky Mountain Portage 
Fort. We here find nearly- eight inches of 
snow. Mr. Stuart and company reached here 
yesterday; and I arrived this morning. Be- 


tween this place and St. John's, the river is 
very rapid, its banks are high, and the coun- 
try, on both sides of it, is generally clothed 
with small timber. Ever since our arrival, 
we have been employed in delivering goods 
for this place, and dividing the remainder 
among our people, to be taken on their 
backs, to the other end of the portage, which 
is twelve miles over, through a rough and 
hilly country. We leave our canoes and 
take others, at the other end of the carrying 

From the Great Slave Lake to this place, 
there are few rapids, and only one fall; but 
at several places, the current is very strong. 
Yesterday, we came up one of these places; 
and as our progTess was very slow, I went 
on shore alone, to walk along the beach. 
Having proceeded some distance, I arrived 
at a place which I could not pass, without 
making a considerable turn into the woods. 
I, therefore, left the side of the river, and, 
after having walked a mile or two, I fell up- 
on a well beaten footpath, which I supposed 
would take me directly to the fort. After I 
had followed it for several miles, I perceived 
that it had been trodden by wild animals, 
and was as I thought, leading me in a dif- 
ferent direction from that which I ought to 
have taken. I was unwilling to retrace my 
steps; and I, therefore, proceeded in a dif- 
ferent direction, hoping soon to come to the 
river, farther up' than the place where 1 left 


it. I marched a good pace, for a considera- 
ble time, through the snow, eight inches in 
depth, until I found myself in a swampy 
country, thickly wooded, when the sun was 
just sinking below the horizon. Even while 
the light lasted, I knew not which way to 
steer; but it soon became so dark, that I 
could not distinguish any object, at the 
distance of more than ten yards from me. 
I had no means of striking fire; and with- 
out this cheering element, it would have 
been uncomfortable and unsafe encamping. 
I must have suffered severely with the cold; 
and might have been torn in pieces by wild 
beasts, which are numerous in this region. 
I concluded it best, therefore, to continue 
walking, until the light of the morning should 
enable me to find the bank of the river. 
Contrary to my expectation, however, a 
kind Providence directed my way, out of 
that dreary swamp, where at every step, I 
sunk up to my knees in snow, mud and 

With great joy, about ten o'clock, I 
reached the river side, which I followed down, 
some distance, where I found our people, 
encamped around a large and cheering fire. 
During the greater part of this excursion, 
the rain poured down in torrents. 

Wednesday, 17. Xorth West end of the 
Rocky Mountain Portage. In the morning, 
Mr. S. myself and our company, left the 
fort; and, this evening, we reached this 


place, where we find some of our people, 
repairing four, crazy, old canoes, in 
which, I should suppose that no one 
would be willing to embark, who attaches 
much value to life. The remainder of our 
hands are employed in transporting our 
baggage, which is still behind, to this place. 
They are assisted in doing this, by some of 
the Natives, who are Sicannies. They have 
just returned from the other side of the 
Rocky Mountain, where they go to pass the 
summer months. During the winter season, 
they remain on this side of the Mountain, 
where they find buffaloes, moose and deer. 
On the other side, none of these animals, 
excepting a few straggling ones, are to be 

The Sicannies are a quiet, inoffensive peo- 
ple, whose situation exposes them to pe- 
culiar difficulties and distresses. \STien they 
proceed to the west side of the mountain, 
the Natives of that region, who are Tacullies 
and Atenas, attack and kill many of them ; 
and when they are on this side, the Beaver 
Indians and Crees, are continually making 
war upon them. Being thus surrounded by 
enemies, against whom thej are too feeble 
successfully to contend, they frequently suffer 
much for want of food ; for when on the 
west side, they dare not, at all times, visit 
those places, where fish are in plenty, and 
when on the east side, they are frequently 
afraid to visit those parts, where animals 


abound. They are compelled, therefore, often- 
times to subsist upon the roots, which they 
find in the mountains, and which barely 
enable them to sustain life ; and their emaci- 
ated bodies frequently bear witness, to the 
scantiness of their fare. 

We here begin to see lofty mountains at a 
distance. This place is in the 56° of North 
Latitude, and 121° of West Longitude. 

Monday, 22. It has snowed and rained, 
during the whole of this day. — We are now 
in the heart of the Rocky Mountain, the 
lofty summits of which, on each side of the 
river, tower majestically toward the heavens, 
and are perpetually whitened by snows, 
that are never dissolved, by solar heat. 
They are by far the highest mountains that 
I have ever seen. The timber, which gTOws 
upon them, is chiefly spruce fir, birch and 
poplar. It is a curious fact, in the geog- 
raphy of North America, that so many of 
the lakes and rivers, on the west side of this 
lofty range of mountains, discharge their 
waters through one narrow passage, in this 
gTeat barrier, and eventually enter the North 

Wednesday, 24. Although we have found 
the current in this river very strong, ever since 
we left the Rocky Mountain Portage, yet, 
until this day, we have found no place where 
we were under the necessity of unloading our 
canoes, in order to stem the current. This 
afternoon, just as we got through the moun- 


tain, we passed Finlay's or the North Branch, 
which appears to be of about the same mag- 
nitude as the South Branch, which we are 
following. These two branches take their 
rise in very different directions. The source 
of the South Branch, is in the Rocky Moun- 
tain, at the distance of nearly two hundred 
miles from the place where we now are. The 
North Branch runs out of a very large lake, 
called by the Natives Musk-qua Sa-ky-e-gnin, 
or Bears Lake. This lake, which is so large 
that the Indians never attempt to cross it in 
their canoes, and which, those who reside at 
the east end of it, afHrm, extends to the 
Western Ocean, is situated nearly west from 
the place where the two branches form a 
junction, at the distance, as is thought of 
about one hundred and fifty miles. Both 
branches, before their junction, run along 
the foot of the mountain, as if in search of 
a passage through. 

Thursday, November 1. McLeods Lake 
Fort. This place is situated in 55° North 
Latitude, and 124° West Longitude. The 
country lying between this place and Fin- 
lay's Branch, is thickly covered with timber, 
on both sides of the river ; and, on the right, 
in coming up, the land is low and level. 
Mountains, it is true, are to be seen; but 
they appear at a considerable distance. We 
have not seen a large animal, nor even the 
track of one, since we left the Rocky Moun- 
tain Portage. About twenty miles from this 


place, we left Peace River, and have come up 
a small river, of five or six rods in breadth, 
which, a little below this, passes through a 
small lake. Here, we leave our canoes, and 
take our goods by land, to the establish- 
ment at Stuart's Lake, which place is sit- 
uated nearly one hundred miles to the west 
from this. There is a passage by water to 
that lake; but it is so circuitous, that we 
could not make it in less than twelve or 
fifteen days. 

McLeod's Lake may be sixty or seventy 
miles in circumference. Small white fish and 
trout are here taken; but those who reside 
here subsist, during the greater part of the 
year, on dried salmon, which are brought in 
the winter, on sledges, drawn by dogs, from 
Stuart's Lake. 

The Indians who frequent this establish- 
ment, are Sicannies, and belong to the same 
tribe with those who take their furs to the 
Rocky Mountain Portage. Their dialect dif- 
fers but little from that of the Beaver In- 
dians. They appear to be in wretched cir- 
cumstances, frequently suffering much for 
want of food ; and they are often driven to 
the necessity of subsisting on roots. There 
are but few large animals, in this part of the 
country; and when the snow is five or six 
feet deep, as is frequently the case in the 
winter, few beavers can be taken, nor can 
many fish be caught, in this cold season of 
the year. Yet after all the difficulties which 


these people encounter, in procuring' a sub- 
sistence, such is their attachment to the 
country that gave them birtli, that they 
would not willingly exchange it, for any 
other })art of the woi'kl. 

Wednesday, 7. Stuart's Lake. This lake 
is called by the Natives Nuck-aws-lay, and 
the establishment on it, where we now are, is 
situated in 54° 30' North Latitude, and in 
125° West Longitude. On the third instant, 
I left Mr. Stuart at McLeod's Lake, where he 
designs to pass the winter ; and, accompanied 
by thirteen labouring men, I arrived at this 
place, this afternoon. In coming here, I 
passed over an uneven country, which is in 
general thickly covered with timber. We 
saw, on our way, several lakes or ponds, one 
of which was about six miles long. 

This fort stands in a very pleasant place, 
on a rise of ground, at the east end of Stu- 
art's Lake, which I am informed, is at least 
three hundred miles in circumference. At the 
distance of about two hundred rods from the 
fort, a considerable river runs out of the lake, 
where the Natives, w ho call themselves Tacul- 
lies, have a village or rather a few small huts, 
built of wood. At these they remain during 
the season for taking and drying salmon, on 
which they subsist, during the greater part of 
the year. 

Monday, 12. I have sent J. M. Quesnel, 
accompanied by ten labouring men, with a 
small assortment of goods, to Frazer's I^ake, 


to reestablish the post there. That lake lies 
nearly fifty miles due west from this. We 
understand that the Indians, this fall, have 
taken and dried a considerable quantity of 
salmon, in that vicinity. I have also sent 
people to the other side of this lake, hoping 
they will take a few white fish, although the 
season, in which we usually take them, is 
nearly past. 

Wednesday, 14. The lake, opposite to the 
fort, froze over the last night. To daj' Mr. 
Stuart and company, arrived from McLeod's 

Siitvrday, 17. We have now about eight 
inches of snow on the ground. 

Siindnr, 18. Mr. Stuart and company, 
have gone to Frazer's Lake. I accompanied 
them to the other side of this lake, where I 
saw all the Lidians belonging to the village 
in this vicinity. They amount to about one 
hundred souls, are very poorly clothed, and, 
to us, appear to be in wretched circum- 
stances ; but they are, notwithstanding, con- 
tented and cheerful. My interpreter informs 
me, that their lang-uage strongly resembles 
that spoken by the Sicannies; and no doubt 
they formerly constituted a part of the same 
tribe, though they now differ from them, in 
their manners and customs. The Sicannies 
bury, while the TAcullies, burn their dead. 

Monday, 26. The corpse of a woman of 
this place, who died on the 20th instant, was 
burned this afternoon. While the ceremony 


was performing-, the Natives made a terrible 
savage noise, by howling-, crying, and a kind 
of singing. 

ScitmrLiy, December 29. Fvazers Lake. 
In coming 'to this place, I passed through a 
country, which is very rough, and thickly 
covered with timber, consisting of spruce, fir, 
poplar, aspin, birch, cypress, &c. We crossed 
one considerable mountain, and several small 

This establishment is at the east end of 
Frazer's Lake, which received its name from 
that of the gentleman, who first built here, 
in 1806. At the distance of about a mile 
from this, there runs out of this lake, a con- 
siderable river, where the Natives have a 
large village, and where they take and dry 
salmon. This lake may be eighty, or ninety 
miles in circumference, and is well supplied 
with white fish, trout, &c. 

Tuesday, January 1, 1811. This being the 
first day of another year, our people have 
passed it, according to the custom of the 
Canadians, in drinking and fighting. Some 
of the principal Indians of this place, desired 
us t9 allow them to remain at the fort, that 
they might see our people drink. As soon as 
they began to be a little intoxicated, and to 
quarrel among themselves, the Natives began 
to be apprehensive, that something- unpleas- 
ant might befal them, also. They, therefore 
hid themselves under beds, and elsewhere, 
saying, that they thought the white people 


had run mad, for they appeared not to know 
what they were about. They perceived that 
those who were the most beastlj' in the early 
part of the day, became the most quiet in the 
latter part, in view of which, they exclaimed, 
"the senses of the white people have returned 
to them again," and they appeared not a 
little surprised at the chang-e ; for, it was the 
first time, that the}' had ever .seen a person 

Sunday, 27. This daj' the Natives have 
burned the corpse of one of their chiefs, who 
died in the early part of this month. Shortly 
after his death, one of his nieces painted her 
face with vermillion; and, in other respects 
arrayed her.self in the gayest manner possible. 
Her mother, observing this unbecoming con- 
duct, reproved her in the following manner. 
"Are you not ashamed, my daughter," said 
she, "to appear so gaily clad, so soon after 
the decease of your uncle? You ought rather 
to daub your face with black, and to cut 
3-our hair short to your head." This re- 
proach for the apparent destitution of nat- 
ural affection, so afflicted the girl, that, soon 
after, she went into a neighbouring wood, 
and hung herself, from the limb of a tree. 
Happily for her, however, some people passed 
that way, before she had long been in this 
situation, and took her down. She was, at 
first, senseless; but soon after recovered. — 
Instances of suicide, by hanging, frequently 
occur, among the women of all the tribes, 


with whom 1 have been acquainted ; but the 
men are seldom known to take away their 
own lives. 

Wednps(hiy, 30. Two nights since, an In- 
dian cut a hole in a window in my room, 
which is made of parchment, at the distance 
of not more than two feet from the foot of 
my bed, where I lay asleep, and took from 
a table, near it, several articles of clothing. 
The next morning, two other Indians brought 
back to me a part of the stolen property, 
and informed me who the thief was, and 
where he could be found. Soon after, accom- 
panied by my interpreter, I went, and found 
the young villain, in a hut under ground, 
along with about twelve others, who are as 
great thieves as himself. I told him, that, as 
he was young, I hoped this was the first time 
he had ever been guilty of theft ; and, pro- 
vided he would return all the property which 
he had taken away, I would forgive this 
offence; but if he should ever in future be 
guilty of any misconduct toward us, he 
might depend on being severely punished. I 
then returned to our house; and, sliortly 
after, two Indians brought me the remainder 
of the property which had been stolen, and I 
gave them a little ammunition, for having 
made known the thief. — Nearly all the Tacul- 
lies, or Carriers as we call them, are much 
addicted to pilfering; but there are few 
among them who dare steal from us. 

Friday, February 15. Yesterday and to- 


day, we found the cold to be more intense, 
than at any other time this season. 

Monday, 18. Baptiste Bouche, my inter- 
preter, has taken the daughter of one of the 
Carrier chiefs, as a wife. She is the first 
woman of that tribe, ever kept by any of the 
white people. 

Friday, April 5. Stuarfs Lake. In the 
morning, I left and abandoned the post at 
Frazer's Lake, and arrived here this evening. 

Monday, 15. The weather is pleasant , and 
seems to presage an early spring. — Swans 
and ducks of several kinds, have passed the 
winter with us ; but bustards and geese, now 
first begin to make their appearance. 

Sunday, 21. A few days since, I sent the 
greater part of my people to McLeod's Lake, 
to prepare for the voyage from that place to 
the Rainy Lake. Tomorrow, I shall leave 
this place myself, in company with Mr. 
Quesnel and others, for McLeod's Lake. I 
shall take with me my little son George, 
who was three years old last December, 
for the purpose of sending him to my 
friends in the United States, in order that 
he may receive an English education. Mr. 
J. M. Quesnel will have the care of him, until 
he shall arrive at Montreal. 

Wednesday, 24. McLeod's Lake. I find 
Mr. Stuart and the men very busy, in pre- 
paring for the voyage to the Rainy Lake.— 
The spring here is less advanced, by fifteen 
days, than it was at Stuart's Lake. This 


gTeat difference of climate, I conclude, is 
owing to the fact, that this place lies nearer 
the mountains. 

Wednosdaj, May 8. People have just ar- 
rived from Stuart's Lake, wlio inform me 
that the mother of my son was delivered on 
the 25th ultimo, of a daughter, whom I name 
Polly Harmon. 

As the ice in Peace River begins to be bad, 
it is expected that a few days hence the 
navigation will be opened, when Messrs. 
Stuart, Quesnel, and their company, will em- 
bark, with the returns of this place, for the 
Rainy Lake. Tomorrow, I design to return 
to Stuart's Lake, where I expect to pass the 
ensuing summer. But my attention is chiefly 
taken -up with the separation, which is soon 
to take place between me and my beloved 
son. A few months hence, he will be at a 
great distance from his affectionate father; 
and, it may be, I shall never more see him, 
in this world. No consideration could induce 
me to send him down, especially while he is 
so young, excepting the thought, that he will 
soon be under the fostering care of my kind 
relatives, who will be able to educate him 
much better than it would be possible for me 
to do, in this savage country. As I do that 
which I apprehend will be for the benefit of 
my little son, so I earnestly pray, that God 
would graciously protect him, in his absence 
from me. 

Sunday, 12, Stuart's Lake. Here, I ar- 


rived this afternoon, after having- passed 
four of the most disagreeable da3's that I 
ever experienced. Mj spirits were dejected, in 
view of the departure of 013^ child ; the snow, 
which was three feet in depth, had become 
softened by the late warm weather, so that 
walking was attended with great fatigue; I 
broke my snow shoes, on the way, which the 
Indian lad with me mended as well as our 
circumstances would permit, though but 
poorly ; and finally we had scarcely any thing 
to eat. I am happy, therefore, to find myself 
at a place where I can enjoy a little repose, 
after such an unpleasant jaunt. 

Tuesday, 21. This afternoon, the ice in 
this lake broke up. Musquetoes begin to 
come about ; and troublesome companions 
they are in the wilderness. 

Wednesday, 22. As the frost is now out of 
the ground, we have planted our potatoes, 
and sowed barley, turnips, &c. which are the 
first that we ever sowed, on this west side of 
the mountain. — ^We now take trout in this 
lake, with set hooks and lines, in considerable 
numbers; but they are not of a good kind. — 
It is, perhaps, a little remarkable, that pike 
or pickerel have never been found in any of 
the lakes and rivers, on the west side of the 
Rocky Mountain. 

Tuesday, Juno 11. Three Indians have 
arrived from S^^-cus, a village, \yiug about 
one hundred and thirty miles down this river, 
who say, that it is reported by others, from 


farther down, that there is a very extraordi- 
nary and powerful being on his way here, 
from the sea, who, when he arrives, will 
transform me into a stone, as well as per- 
form many other miraculous deeds ; and the 
simple and credulous Natives fully believe this 

Sunday, 16. A number of Indians have 
arrived, in six large wooden canoes, from the 
other end of this lake ; and among them are 
two, a father and his son, who say, that they 
belong to a tribe, who call themselves Nate- 
ote-tains. These are the first of that nation, 
whom we have ever seen here. They state, 
that their tribe is numerous, and scattered, 
in villages, over a large extent of country, 
lying directly west from this; and that it is 
not more than five or six days' march, to 
their nearest village. They, also, inform us, 
that a large river passes through their coun- 
try, and at no considerable distance from it, 
enters the Pacific Ocean. They, likewise, say, 
that a number of white people come up that 
river, in barges, every autumn, in order to 
trade witTi the Indians, who reside along its 
shores. But I could not learn from them, to 
what nation those white people belong. I 
imagine, however, that they are Americans, 
who come round Cape Horn, to carry on, 
what is called a coasting trade ; for, I cannot 
learn that they ever attempted to make es- 
tablishments, along the sea coast. 

Tuesday, July 2. Yesterday, five Sicannies 


came here, from McLeod's Lake, who form a 
small war party. Their leader, or war chief 
desired me to allow them to go where they 
might think proper; upon which, I inquired 
of them, whither they wished to direct their 
course, and what their business was. The 
speaker replied, that, when they left their 
lands, their intention was to go and try to 
take a scalp or two from the Indians of 
Frazer's Lake, "who," he added, "have done 
us no injury. But we have lost a relation; 
and we must try to revenge his death, on 
some one." — This is a custom common to a 
greater or less extent to all the tribes. 

I asked him whether he supposed that we 
supplied them with guns and ammunitions, 
to enable them to destroy their fellow crea- 
tures, or to kill ,the beaver, &c. I added, 
that should thej', in the fall, bring in an hun- 
dred scalps, they could not, with them all, 
procure a pint of rum, or a pipe full of to- 
bacco ; but, if they would bring beaver skins 
they would able to purchase the articles 
which they would need. After reflecting for 
some time on what I had said, the speaker 
informed me, that the}' would, in comphance 
with my advice, return and hunt the beaver; 
and they performed their promise, by proceed- 
ing immediately to their own lands. 

Monthly, 29. Several days since, one of 
our men, who remains at McLeod's Lake, 
came here with the information, that there 
were Indians lurking around that fort, wait- 


ing, as was supposed, for a favourable oppor- 
tunity to attack it. I, accordingly, went 
over, hoping that I should be able to ascer- 
tain who they were; but I have not been 
able to obtain the least information respect- 
ing them. Probably, they had not courage 
to make the attack, and have returned to 
their own lands. 

Shad berries begin to ripen, which is about 
twenty days later than they ripen, in the 
same Latitude, on the east side of the Rocky 

Friday, August 2. Our whole stock of 
provisions in the fort, for ten persons, con- 
sists of five salmon, only. It is impossible, 
at this season, to take fish out of this lake 
or river. Unless the salmon from the sea, 
soon make their appearance, our condition 
will be deplorable. 

Saturday, 10. Sent all our people, con- 
sisting of men, women, and children, to 
gather berries at Pincliy, a village about 
twelve miles distant from this, toward the 
other end of this lake. At no great distance 
from that village, as I am informed, there is 
a small lake, out of which the Natives take 
small fish, which very much resemble a sal- 
mon in shape and in flavour, which are not 
more than six inches long. They are said to 
be very palatable; but, if they were not so, 
they would be very acceptable to us, in our 
present circumstances. 

Thursday, 22. One of the Natives has 


caught a salmon, which is joyful intelligence 
to us all ; for we hope and expect, that, in a 
few days, we shall have them in abundance. 
These fish visit, to a greater or less extent, 
all the rivers in this region, and form the 
principal dependence of the inhabitants, as 
the means of subsistence. 

Monday, September 2. We now have the 
common salmon in abundance. They weigh 
from five to seven pounds. There are, also, 
a few of a larger kind, which will weigh 
sixty or seventy pounds. Both of them are 
very good, when just taken out of the water. 
But, when dried, as they are by the Indians 
here, by the heat of the sun, or in the smoke 
of a fire, they are not very palatable. When 
salted, they are excellent. 

As soon as the salmcn come into this lake, 
they go in search of the rivers and brooks, 
that fall into it; and these streams they 
ascend so far as there is water to enable 
them to swim ; and when they can proceed 
no farther up, they remain there and die. 
None were ever seen to descend these streams. 
They are found dead in such numbers, in 
some pla(^es, as to infect the atmosphere, 
with a terrible stench, for a considerable 
distance round. But, even when they are in 
a putrified state, the Natives frequently 
gather them up and eat them, apparently, 
with as great a relish, as if they were fresh. 

Tuesday, 17. Between nine and ten 
o'clock, this forenoon, the sun was eclipsed, 



for nearly half an hour, which event alapmed 
the Natives greatly; for the}- considered it as 
foreboding some great calamity, about to 
fall upon them. They therefore cried and 
howled, making a savage noise. Their 
priests or magicians took their hands full 
of swan's douai, and blew it through their 
hands toward the sun, imploring that great 
luminary to accept of the offering, thus made 
to him, to be put on the head of his sons, 
when engaged in dancing, and to spare the 
Indians. They suppose that the sun has 
children, who, like those of the Carriers, are 
fond of putting swan's down on their heads, 
when they dance. — I explained to them the 
cause of the darkness ; at which they appeared 
both pleased and astonished, and acknowl- 
edged that my account of the subject was 
rational, but wondered how I could obtain 
a knowledge of such hidden and mysterious 

Monday, 23. Bustards and geese begin to 
come from the north. 

In the early part of the day, I found it 
necessary to chastise the chief of this village, 
with considerable severity. He is the first 
Indian that I have ever struck during a resi- 
dence of eleven years, in this savage country. 

The following circumstances attended this 
transaction. The name of the Indian, who 
was chastised, was Quas. He had a friend, 
who was a worthless fellow, to whom he 
wished me to advance goods on credit, which 


I declined doing for two reasons. The first 
was, tliat I did not believe that the Indian 
would ever pay me for them. The other was? 
that Quas wished to make the Indians be- 
lieve, that he had a great deal of influence 
over us, which would be prejudicial to our 
interest, if he should effect it. He tried every 
method, which he could devise, to persuade 
me to advance the goods, but to no purpose ; 
for I perceived what was his object. He then 
told me, that he saw no other difference be- 
tween me and himself, but this only : 'you,' 
said he, 'know how to read and write; but I 
do not. Do not I manage my affairs as well, 
as you do yours? You keep your fort in 
order, and make your slaves,' meaning my 
men, 'obey you. You send a great way off 
for goods, and you are rich and want for 
nothing. But do not I manage my affairs as 
well as you do yours? Wlien did you ever 
hear that Quas was in danger of starving? 
When it is the proper season to hunt the 
beaver, I kill them ; and of their flesh I make 
feasts for my relations. I, often, feast all the 
Indians of my village ; and, sometimes, invite 
people from afar off, to come and partake of 
the fruits of my hunts. I know the season 
when fish spa^vn, and, then send my women 
with the nets which they have made, to take 
them. I never want for any thing, and my 
family is always well clothed." — In this man- 
ner, the fellow proceeded, for a considerable 


I told him that what he had said, con- 
cerning himself and his family, was true ; yet, 
I added, 'I am master of my own property, 
and sliall dispose of it as I please.' 'Well,' 
said he, 'have you ever been to war?' 'No,' 
replied I, 'nor do I desire to take the life of 
any of my fellow creatures.' 'I have been to 
war,' continued he, 'and have brought home 
many of the scalps of my enemies.' I was 
now strongly tempted to beat him, as his 
object manifestly was, to intimidate me. But 
I wished to avoid a quarrel, which might be 
evil in its consequences; and especially to 
evince to the Indians, who were spectators of 
what passed between us, that. I was disposed 
to live in peace with them. — Quas proceeded 
to try me another way. He asked me if I 
would trust him with a small piece of cloth, to 
make him a breech cloth? This I consented 
to do, and went into the store, to measure it 
off. He followed me together with my inter- 
preter, and ten or twelve other Indians. I 
took up a piece of cloth, and asked him, if he 
would have it from that? He answered, no. 
I then made a similar inquiry, respecting an- 
other piece, to which he made a similar reply. 
This persuaded me, that his only object was 
to provoke me to quarrel with him. I, there- 
fore, threw down the cloth, and told him, if 
he would not have that, he should have 
this, (meaning a square yard stick which I 
had in my hand) with which I gave him a 
smart blow over the head, which cut it, con- 


Biderably. I then sprang over the counter, 
and pelted him, for about five minutes, dur- 
ing which time, he continually called to his 
companions, all of whom had knives in their 
hands, to come and take me off. But, they 
replied that they could not, because there 
were two other white people in the room, who 
would prevent them. It was happy for us 
that these Indians stood in such fear of us; 
for there were only four white men, at this 
time in the fort, and they could easily have 
murdered us. — As Quus and his company left 
us, he told me that he would see me again 
tomorrow, when the sun should be nearly in 
the south, meaning between ten and twelve 

Monday, October 7. The next day after I 
chastised the Indian, as above described, he 
sent one of his wives to request me, either to 
come and see him, or to send him some 
medicine. I, therefore, sent him some salve* 
with which to dress the wound in his head. — 
A few days after, he became so well as to be 
able to hunt ; and he killed and brought 
home a number of beavers, with which he 
yesterday made a feast. He sent an invita- 
tion to me to attend this feast ; and I con- 
cluded that it would be necessary for me to 
go, or he might think that I was afraid of 
him. I, accordingly, put a brace of pistols in 
my pocket, and hung a sword by my side, 
and directed m^^ interpreter to arm himself in 
a similar manner, and to accompany me. We 


proceeded to the house of tlie chief, where we 
found nearly an liundred Indians, assembled. 
As soon as we arrived, he requested us to be 
seated. He then rose, and stood in the mid- 
dle of the circle, formed bj' the guests, and 
with a distinct and elevated voice, made a 
long harangue, in which he did not forget to 
make mention of the beating which he had 
lately received from me. He said, if it had 
been given to him by any person but the 
Big Knife ( the name which they give to me ) 
he would have either lost his own life, or 
have taken that of the person attacking him. 
But now, he said, he considered himself as 
my wife; for that was the way, he said, that 
he treated his women (of whom he has four) 
when they behave ill. He said, that he 
thanked me for what I had done, for it had 
given him sense. — To this I replied, that, in 
a remote country, I had left my friends and 
relations, who wanted for none of the good 
things of this world, and had come a great 
distance, with such articles as the Indians 
greatly needed, and which I would exchange 
for their furs, with which I could purchase 
more ; and in this way, I could always supply 
their necessities; that I considered the In- 
dians as my children, and that I must chas- 
tise them when they behaved ill, because it 
was for their good. 'You all know,' said I, 
'that I treat good Indians well, and that I 
strive to live in peace with 3'ou.'— ' Yes,' re- 
plied the father-in-law to the chief, ' Big Knife 


speaks the truth. My son had no sense, and 
vexed him, and therefore deserved the beating 
which he has received.' — Quas then told the 
Indians, that if he ever heard of anj^ of them 
laughing at him for the beating which he had 
received, he would make them repent of their 

After this the feast was served up in a 
manner, which I shall describe in another 
place. — It will be seen, by this account, that 
the white people have a gTeat ascendency 
over the Indians ; for, I believe that this chief 
is not destitute of bravery- . But it is very 
necessary, in order to secure ourselves from 
aggression, that we manifest that we are not 
afraid of them. 

Saturday, 12. During the last three days, 
it has snowed continually; and it has fallen 
to the depth of nearly two feet. 

Monday, 21. We have now in our store, 
twenty five thousand salmon, l^^our in a day 
are allowed to each man. — I have sent some 
of our people to take white fish. 

Thursday, 31. Two men have arrived 
from McLeod's Lake, and have delivered me 
several letters, one of which, from Mr. James 
McDougall, who accompanied our people from 
the Rainy Lake, informs me, that the canoes 
were stopped by the ice, on the 12th inst. 
about three days' marcji below McLeod's 
Lake, where they still remain, together with 
the property which they had on board. 

Saturday, November 16. Our fishermen 


have returned to the fort, and inform me 
that they have taken seven thousand white 
fish. These fish, which, singly, will weigh 
from three to four pounds, were taken in nine 
nets, of sixty fathoms each. 

Sunday, 17. Clear and cold. The last 
night, the lake, opposite to the fort, froze 
over. — The greater part of the snow, which 
fell in October, is now dissolved. 

Friday, December 13. On the 20th ult. I 
set off, accompanied by twenty of my people, 
for the goods which were stopped by the tak- 
ing of the ice in Peace River, the last October, 
We all returned this evening accompanied by 
Mr. McDougall, who has come to pass the 
holidays with us. Our goods were drawn on 
sledges by dogs. Each pair of dogs drew a 
load of from two hundred, to two hundred 
and fifty pounds, besides provisions for them- 
selves and their driver, which would make the 
whole load about three hundred pounds. I 
have seen manj^ dogs, two of which would 
draw on a sledge, five hundred pounds, 
twenty miles, in five hours. For a short dis- 
tance, two of our stoutest dogs will draw 
more than a thousand pounds weight. In 
short, there is no animal, with which I am 
acquainted, that would be able to render half 
the service that our dogs do, in this country, 
where the snow is very deep in the winter 
season. The3' sink but little into it, in fol- 
lowing a person on snow shoes. 

Wednesday, January 1, 1812. This being 


the first day of the ye_ar, Mr. McDougall and 
I dined with all our people, in the hall. 
After our repast was ended, I invited several 
of the Sicanny and Carrier chiefs, and most 
respectable men, to partake of the provisions 
which we had left ; and I was surprised to see 
them behave with much decency, and even 
propriety, while eating, and while drinking- a 
flagon or two of spirits. 

After they had finished their repast, they 
smoked their pipes, and conversed rationally, 
on the gTeat difference which there is, between 
the manners and customs of civilized people, 
and those of the savages. Thej' readily con- 
ceded, that ours are superior to theirs. 

Tuesday, 7. On the 4th inst. accompanied 
by several of our people, I set off for Tachy, 
a village, toward the other end of this lake. 
We there saw a number of Indians, who ap- 
pear to be very indolent, and who are, of 
course, wretchedlj" clad, and not better fed. 
From that place, we proceeded up a consider- 
able river, about half a day's march, to an- 
other village, inhabited chiefly by Sicannies, 
who appear to be more industrious than the 
inhabitants of the former village; and, there- 
fore, they are better clothed, and live more 
comfortably. Their principal food consists 
of salmon, white fish, and trout; and they, 
at times, kill a beaver, or a cariboo. The 
country around the lake is hilly; but, on 
both sides of this river, it is level ; and from 
the appearance of the timber which grows 


on it, I should think that the soil is not 

Momliiy, 13. On the 9th inst. a Sicanny 
died at this place; and the following circum- 
stances attended his incineration, to day. — 
The corpse was placed on a pile of dry wood, 
with the face upwards, which was painted 
and bare. The body was covered with a 
robe, made of beaver skins, and shoes were 
on the feet. In short, the deceased was 
clothed in the same manner as when alive, 
only a little more gaily. His gam and powder 
horn, together with every trinket which he 
had possessed, w^ere placed by his side. As 
they were about to set fire to the wood, on 
which the deceased lay, one of his brothers 
asked him if he would ever come among 
them again ; for, they suppose that the soul 
of a person, after the death of the body, can 
revisit the earth, in another body. They 
must, therefore, believe in the immortality, 
though they connect with it the transmigTa- 
tion, of the soul. 

The deceased had two wives, who were 
placed, the one at the head, and the other at 
the foot of the corpse; and there they lay 
until the hair of their heads was nearly con- 
sumed by the flames, and they were almost 
suffocated by the smoke. \Mien almost sense- 
less, they rolled on the ground, to a little 
distance from the fire. As soon as they had 
recovered a little strength, they stood up, and 
began to strike the burning corpse with both 


their hands alternately ; and this disgusting, 
savage ceremony was continued, until the 
body was nearly consumed. This operation 
was interrupted b}^ their frequent turns of 
fainting, arising from the intensity of the 
heat. If they did not soon recover from 
these turns, and commence the operation of 
striking the corpse, the men would seize them 
by the little remaining hair on their heads, 
and push them into the flames, in order to 
compel them to do it. This violence was 
especially used toward one of the wives of the 
deceased, who had frequently run away from 
him, while he was living. 

When the body was nearly burned to 
ashes, the wives of the deceased gathered 
up these ashes, and the remaining pieces of 
bones, which they put into bags. These 
bags they will be compelled to carry upon 
their backs, and to lay by their sides, when 
they lie down at night, for about two years. 
The relations of the deceased will then make 
a feast, and enclose these bones and ashes 
in a box, and deposit them under a shed, 
erected for that purpose, in the centre of the 
village. Until this time, the widows are kept 
in a kind of slavery, and are required to 
daub their faces over with some black sub- 
stance, and to appear clothed with rags, 
and frequently to go without any clothing, 
excepting round their waists. But, at the 
time of this feast, they are set at liberty 
from these disagreeable restraints. 


Thursday, 30. On the 17th inst. accom- 
panied by Mr. McDougall, twelve of my men 
and two carriers^ I set out on a journey 
to the territory of the Nate-ote-tains, a tribe 
of Indians, who have never had any inter- 
course with white people, and few of whom 
have ever seen them. After travelling, with 
all possible expedition, during- seven days, 
generally on lakes, we arrived at their first 
village. The inhabitants were not a little 
surprised and alarmed to see people come 
among them, whose complexion was so dif- 
ferent from their own. As their village stands 
on a rise of ground, near to a large lake, 
they saw us coming, when we were at a con- 
siderable distance from them; and the men, 
women and children came out to meet us, 
all of whom were armed, some with bows 
and arrows, and others with axes and clubs. 
They offered no offence ; but, by man3' savage 
gestures they manifested a determination 
to defend themselves, in case they were at- 
tacked. We soon dissipated their fears, by 
informing them, that we came not to make 
war upon them, but to supply them with 
articles which they needed, and to receive their 
furs in exchange. They treated us with much 
respect and with great hospitality. 

The day following, we proceeded on our 
route, and, during our progress, we saw four 
more of their villages. At the second of, 
we found the two men who, the last summer, 
visited my fort. These people were not, there- 


fore, surprised at seeing- us among them ; 
for, I had promised these two men, that, in 
the course of the winter, 1 would visit their 
country. They gave us the same account as 
they had before given at the fort, of the 
white people, who come up a large river, 
already mentioned. And to convince us of 
the truth of the account, they showed us 
guns, cloth, axes, blankets, iron pots, &c. 
which they obtained from their neighbours, 
the Atenas, who purchase them directly of 
the white people. 

The five villages which we visited, contain 
about two thousand inhabitants, who are 
well made and robust. They subsist prin- 
cipally on salmon, and other small fish. The 
salmon here have small scales, while those 
at Stuart's Lake, have none. — The clothing 
of these people, is much like that of the Car- 
riers. I procured from them vessels, curi- 
ously wrought, of the smaller roots of the 
spruce fir, in different shapes. Some of them 
are open, like a kettle, and will hold water. 
They also, let me have a blanket or rug, 
which was manufactured by the AtenAs, of 
the wool of a kind of sheep or goat. These 
animals are said to be numerous, on the 
mountains, in their country. — They told us 
that we had seen but a small part of the 
Nate-ote-tains, who, they say, are a numerous 
tribe. They speak a language peculiar to 
themselves, though the greater part of them 
understand that, spoken by the Carriers. 


The country, which we trarelled over, in 
this route, is generally level. Few mountains 
are to be seen. A heavy growth of timber 
evinces, that the soil is good.— We saw no 
arge an-imals, excepting the cariboo; but 
we were informed, that black bears, and other 
kinds of the larger animals, exist in con- 
siderable numbers, in that region. 

Sunday, February 2^. I have just returned 
from a jaunt of eight days, to Frazer's Lake 
and Stilla. The latter place lies about twenty 
miles bej'ond the former. Wherever we went, 
the Natives, as usual, appeared to be pleased 
to see us, and treated us hospitably. 

Monday, April 6. Six Indians have arrived 
from Frazer's Lake, who delivered to me a 
letter, written by Mr. David Thompson, 
which is dated August 28th, 1811, at Bk- 
koy-ope Falls, on the Columbia River. It in- 
forms me, that this gentleman, accompanied 
by seven Canadians, descended the Columbia 
River, to the place where it enters the Pacific 
Ocean, where they arrived on the 16th of 
July. There they found a number of people, 
employed in building a fort for a company 
of Americans, who denominate themselves 
the Pacific Fur Company. He also writes, 
that Mr. Alexander McKay and others, have 
proceeded to the northward, in the vessel 
that brought them there, on a coasting 
trade.— Mr. Thompson, after having remained 
seven days with the American people, set out 
on his return to his establishments, which 


are near the source of the Columbia River. 
From one of these posts, he wrote the letter 
above mentioned, and delivered it to an In- 
dian, to bring- to the next tribe, with the 
direction, that they should forward it to the 
next, and so on, until it should reach this 
place. This circumstance accounts for the 
great length of time, that it has been on the 
way; for the distance that it has come, might 
be travelled over, in twenty five or thirty 

Monday, Mny 11. This morning I returned 
from McLeod's Lake, where I have been to 
send off my people, who are to go to the 
Rainy Lake. While there, one of my men, 
Pieere Lambert, while crossing a small lake 
on a sledge, fell through the ice ; and, before 
his companions who were near could ex- 
tricate him, he was drowned. The day follow- 
ing, his corpse was brought to the fort and 

On my way home, the walking was exceed- 
ingly bad. The snow was three feet deep, 
and the w^eather was so mild, that it had 
become very soft. About ten miles from this 
place, I left my guide, and came on forward 
of him. I had not proceeded far, before I 
wandered from my proper course. I might 
have followed my tracks back ; but this I was 
unwilling to do, and I continued, therefore 
to wander about during the remainder of the 
day. The night came upon me, while I was 
in a thick wood ; and, as I had nothing to 


eat, I could only kindle up a fire, and en- 
deavour to solace myself, by smoking my 
pipe.— I passed the greater part of tlie night 
in melancholy reflections on the unpleasant 
condition, into which I had brought mj'self, 
by leaving my guide. Very early in the morn- 
ing, I left my fire, and commenced travelling, 
without knowing what direction to take. 
The sun was concealed by clouds, and the 
rain fell copiously. Before I had gone far, I 
perceived, at no great distance from me, a 
pretty high hill, which I at length ascended, 
with much difficulty. From its summit, 1 was 
cheered by a prospect of this lake, at a con- 
siderable distance from me. Having ascer- 
tained the course which I must take, I de- 
scended into the valley, and took the follow- 
ing method to keep in the direction to the 
fort. I at first marked a tree; and from 
that, singled out one forward of me, to 
which I proceeded; and by means of these 
two fixed upon another, in a straight line 
ahead ; and continued the same operation, 
for several hours, until, with great joy, I 
reached the fort. And now, therefore, I desire 
to return thanks to kind Providence, for 
having once more directed my steps to my 
home and my family. 

Thursday, 21, The last night, an east 
wind drove the ice to the other end of the 

Tuesday, 23. This morning, the Natives 
caught a sturgeon that would weigh about 


two hundred and fifty pounds. We frequently 
see in this lake, those which are much larger, 
which we cannot take, for the want of nets, 
sufficiently strong to hold them. 

Saturday, August 15. Salmon begin to 
come up this river. As soon as one is caught 
the Natives always make a feast, to express 
their joy at the arrival of these fish. The 
person, who first sees a salmon in the river, 
exclaims, Ta-loe nas-lay ! TA-loe nas-lay I 
in English, Salmon have arrived ! Salmon 
have arrived ! and the exclamation is caught 
with joy, and uttered with animation, by 
every person in the village. 

Wednesday, September 2. Mr. McDougall 
and company, who came here on the 25th 
ult. set out this morning, on their return 
home, to McLeod's Lake. This visit has 
afforded me much satisfaction. In this lonely 
part of the world, we enjoy the pleasures of 
social intercourse, when we are permitted to 
spend a little time with a friend, with the 
highest relish. 

Sunday, October 25. Early this morning, 
my people returned from the Eainy Lake. 
By them I have received letters from home, 
which have given me more satisfaction than 
I can express. My friends are in good health, 
and my beloved son George has arrived 
safely among them. For these blessings, I 
cannot be sufficiently thankful, unless a 
merciful God is graciously pleased to change 
my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. 


Friday, Xovembpr ^. We have now about 
six inches of snow on the jCTOund. — On the 
27th ult. I set out for McLeod's Lake, where 
I arrived on the 29th. I there found Mr. 
John Stuart, who, with his company, arrived 
the day before, from Fort Chipewyan. His 
men are on their way to the Columbia 
River, down which tliey will proceed under 
Mr. J. G. McTavish. The coming winter, 
they will pass near the source of that river. 
At the Pacific Ocean, it is expected that 
they will meet Donald McTavish, Esq., and 
company, who were to sail from England, 
last October, and proceed round Cape Horn 
to the mouth of Columbia River. This after- 
noon Mr. Stuart and myself, with our com- 
pany, arrived at this place, (Stuart's Lake) 
where both of us, God willing, shall pass 
the ensuing winter. With us, are twenty-one 
labouring men, one interpreter, and five 
women, besides children. 

Saturday, January 23, 1813. On the 29th 
ult. Mr. Stuart and myself, with the most 
of our people, went to purchase furs and 
salmon, at Frazer's Lake and Stillas. The 
last fall, but few salmon came up this river. 
At the two places, above mentioned, we were 
so successful as to be able to procure a suf- 
ficient quantity. While at Frazer's Lake 
Mr. Stuart, our interpreter and myself, came 
near being massacred by the Indians of that 
place, on account of the interpreter's wife, 
who is a native of that village. Eighty or 


ninety of the Indians armed themselves, some 
with guns, some with bows and arrows, and 
others with axes and clubs, for the purpose 
of attacking' us. By mild measures, however, 
which I have generally found to be the best, 
in the management of the Indians, we suc- 
ceeded in appeasing their anger, so that we 
suffered no injury ; and we finally separated, 
to appearance, as good friends, as if nothing 
unpleasant had occurred. Those who are 
acquainted with the disposition of the Indians 
and who are a little respected by them, may, 
by humouring their feelings, generally, con- 
troul them, almost as they please. 

Sunday, February 21. Rocky Mountain 
Portage Fort. Here I arrived this afternoon, 
accompanied by five Canadians and one 
Carrier. We left Stuart's Lake on the 6th 
inst. and are on our way to Dun vegan, where 
I am going to transact some business with 
Mr. John McGillivray, who is there. As the 
mountains, on both sides of the river, for 
the distance of seventy or eighty miles, are 
very lofty, there is generally a strong wind 
passing, either up or down the stream, which, 
at this season, renders it extremely cold and 
disagreeable travelling. On the 18th, we 
were in the heart of those mountains; and 
we had to encounter such a strong head 
wind, that my upper lip became very much 
frozen, without my having perceived it at 
the time. It is now much swollen, and very 
painful. We all caught severe colds, in con- 


sequence o! a fall of snow upon us, to the 
depth of eight inches, after we had encamped 
and resigned ourselves to sleep, the second 
night after leaving Stuart's Lake ; and I have 
become unable to speak, excepting in a 
whisper. It requires indeed, a strong con- 
stitution, to conflict with the hardships, 
incident to our mode of life. 

We here find no person, excepting two Ca- 
nadians. Mr. A. R. McLeod, who has charge 
of this place, is now absent on a visit to his 
hunter's tent, which is five days' march from 
this. From such a distance, provisions are 
obtained for this post, as there are very few 
large animals at this season, in this vicinity, 
in consequence, I presume, of the great depth 
of snow, which always falls in places, so near 
the mountain, as this. The people who are 
here say, that the hunters had such difficulty 
in finding animals of any kind, the last fall, 
that they all passed five days, without any 
kind of food. 

Monday, Mnnh 1. Dunvegan. I have, at 
length, reached this place, where I passed the 
years 1809 and 1810, and revisiting it, many 
a pleasing scene is recalled by memory, and 
manj^ hours of agTceable conversation, which 
I passed, with the gentlemen who were then 
here, rise fresh to my recollection. — Mr. Mc- 
Gillivray is now absent, on a visit to the 
Lesser Slave Lake ; and Mr. Collin Campbell 
has charge of the fort. 

Sundny, 14. Mr. McGillivray returned, on 


the 10th inst. He is an amiable and excellent 
man ; and I have enjoyed his society, during 
my short stay here, very higldy. Having 
completed my business here, I shall set out 
tomorrow, on my return to Stuart's Lake. 
I here received the intelligence, that Niagara 
and Makana had surrendered to the British 
forces; but not before many valuable lives 
were lost, on both sides. 

Sunday, April 4. Stuart's Lake. We left 
Dunvegan on the 16th ult. and arrived here 
this evening, without having experienced any 
disaster by the way. 

Saturday, May 1. Present appearances 
justify the expectation, that the ice in the 
river will soon break up, so that our people 
will be able to commence their journey to the 
Rainy Lake with our returns, all of which 
we have sent to McLeod's Lake, together 
with letters to people in this country, and to 
our friends in the civilized part of the world. 

Thursday, 1-3. The weather is fine. In the 
early part of the day, Mr. J. Stuart, accom- 
panied by six Canadians and two of the 
Natives, embarked on board of two canoes, 
taking with him a small assortment of goods, 
as a kind of pocket money, and provisions 
sufficient for a month and a half. They are 
going to join Mr. J. G. McTavish and his 
company, at some place on the Columbia 
River; and to proceed with them to the 
ocean. Should Mr. Stuart be so successful as 
to discover a water communication, between 


this and the Columbia, we shall, for the 
future, obtain our j^early supply of goods 
by that route, and send our returns out that 
way, to be shipped directly for China, in 
vessels which the company, in that ease, 
design to build on the North West coast. 
While the execution of this comprehensive 
plan is committed to others, my more humble 
employment, in which, however, I am quite 
as sure of being successful, is to be, the sup- 
erintendence of the affairs of New Caledonia. 
No other people, perhaps, who pursue busi- 
ness to obtain a livelihood, have so much 
leisure, as we do. Few of us are employed 
more, and many of us much less, than one 
fifth of our time, in transacting the business 
of the Company. The remaining four fifths 
are at our own disposal. If we do not, with 
such an opportunity, improve our under 
standings, the fault must be our own; for 
there are few posts, which are not tolerably 
well supplied with books. These books are 
not, indeed, all of the best kind ; but among 
them are many which are valuable. If I were 
deprived of these silent companions, many a 
gloomy hour would pass over me. Even with 
them, my spirit at times sinks, when I reflect 
on the great length of time which has elapsed, 
since I left the land of my nativity, and my 
relatives and friends, to dwell in this savage 
country. These gloomy moments, thank 
God, occur but seldom, and soon glide away. 
A little reflection reconciles me to the lot, 


which Providence has assigned me, in the 

Satiirdciv, Jiijw 12. A Sicanny has just 
arrived, who states, that a Httle this side of 
McLeod's Lake, where he was encamped witli 
his family, an Indian of the same tribe, 
rushed out of the wood, and fired upon them, 
and killed his wife. Her corpse he immedi- 
ately burned upon the spot; and then, with 
his son and two daughters, he proceeded 
directly to this place. — All the savages, who 
have had a near relation killed, are never 
quiet until they have avenged the death, 
either by killing the murderer, or some person 
nearly related to him. This spirit of revenge 
has occasioned the death of the old woman, 
above mentioned, and she undoubtedly, de- 
served to die ; for, the last summer, she per- 
suaded her husband to go and kill the cousin 
of her murderer, and that, merely because 
her own son had been drowned. — The custom, 
which extensively prevails among the Indians, 
of revenging the natural death of a relative, 
by the commission of murder, seems to 
arise from a superstitious notion entertained 
by them, that death, even when it takes place 
n this manner, has, in some mysterious way, 
been occasioned by a fellow creature. 

Sunday, 20. Yesterday, an Indian of this 
village killed another, who was on a visit 
from the other end of this lake, just as he 
was entering his canoe to return. The former 
approached the latter, and gave him five 


stabs with a lance, and ripped open his 
bowels, in such a shocking manner, that his 
entrails immediately fell upon the ground ; 
and he, of course, instantly expired. The 
murderer made his escape; and the chief of 
the village, wrapped the corpse in a moose 
skin, and sent it to his relations. Notwith- 
standing this conciliatory act, the people of 
this place are apprehensive, that the relations 
of the person murdered, will make war upon 
them ; and they will, therefore, set out to- 
morrow, to go a considerable distance do^-n 
this river, where they will pass a greater 
part of the summer, until harmony is re 
stored between the two villages. — This mur- 
derer has a wife, who is known to be a 
worthless woman, with whom he supposed 
that the person murdered had had improper 
intercourse ; and it was to revenge this, that 
the act was committed. — All the Carriers are 
extremely jealous of their wives; while, to 
their unmarried daughters, they cheerfully 
allow every liberty ! 

Thursday, August 12. Salmon begin to 
make their appearance in this river, which 
is a joyful event to us; for the stock of pro- 
visions which we have in the fort, is sufficient, 
but for a few days, and the Natives, for some 
time past, have suffered greatly for the want 
of food. We ought to be thankful to our 
merciful Preserver and Benefactor, who con- 
tinually watches over us, and supplies our 
wants. Often has he appeared for our relief, 


when we were in urgent need, and taught us, 
that he is the proper object of our confidence. 
Wednesdaj', September 1. A few daj'S since, 
Mr. McDougall arrived here from McLeod's 
Lake, and took all the people, belonging to 
this fort, with him to Pinchy, to gather ber- 
ries. Having been left entirely alone, I have 
had a favourable opportunity for serious 
reflection, and for self examination ; and I 
have been disposed to employ it for this pur^ 
pose. On reviewing the exercises of my heart, 
and the course of my conduct, during my 
past life, I have been filled with astonishment 
and with grief, in view of my wide departures 
from the path of duty. My sins have risen 
in gloomy arra^^ before me, and I have been 
led to feel, that I am, indeed, the chief of 
sinners; and that, on account of my trans- 
gressions, I deserve to be banished forever 
from the gracious presence of God, and to be 
consigned to the world of future misery. 
This view of my guilt would have been over- 
whelming, had not God been graciously 
pleased, as I trust, to reveal the Saviour to 
me, in his glorious fullness, as an all suflBcient 
and an accepted Mediator between sinful men 
and the offended majesty of heaven. He has 
appeared to me amiable in himself, and en- 
tirely suited to my necessities ; and I humbly 
hope that I have committed my soul to him, 
to be washed from the defilement of sin in 
his blood, to be accepted of God through his 
intercession, and to be sanctified by his 


Spirit. The change in my views and feel- 
ings, is certain!}' great; and it is surprising 
to myself. What I once considered as the 
foibles and follies of my youth, now appear 
to be grievous sins, against a righteous and 
a long suffering God ; and a religious course 
of life, I regard as the path, not only of wis- 
dom, but of happiness; and by the aid of 
Divine grace, it is my resolution, for the 
time to come, to labour after a compliance 
with every Divine requirement. 

Until this day, I have always doubted 
whether such a Saviour as the scriptures de- 
scribe, ever really existed, and appeared on 
earth ! So blind was I, that I could see no 
necessity for an atoning Mediator between 
God and men. Before I left the civilized part 
of the world, I had frequently heard the 
cavils of infidelity urged; and these cavils 
followed me into the wilderness, frequently 
came fresh to my recollection, and con- 
tributed to overshadow my mind with the 
gloomy doubts of infidelity. My intention, 
however, was, by no means to cast off all 
religion ; but, I attempted to frame to myself 
a religion, which would comport with my 
feelings, and with my manner of life. — For 
several years past, however, my mind has 
not been at rest. I was taught in early life, 
by parents whom I respected and loved, the 
truths and duties of Christianity; and I had 
a wish to believe in the same religion which 
they professed, and from which, I have fre- 


quently heard them say, they derived the 
most substantial consolation. I, therefore, 
some time since, commenced reading- the 
Bible, with more attention than I had before 
done; for, from my youth up, I had been 
accustomed to read it. I also read all other 
books that I could find, which treated of the 
christian religion. Some excellent notes, re- 
specting the Saviour, in the Universal History, 
affected my mind much ; as did, also, the 
serious letters which I received, every year, 
from my brother Stephen. I also prayed a 
gracious God to enable me to believe on • is 
Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As I was pray- 
ing to-day, on a sudden, the faith, respecting 
which I was so solicitous, was, I trust, gTa- 
ciously granted to me. My views of the Sav- 
iour,- underwent a total change. I was en- 
abled, not only to believe in his existence, 
but to apprehend his superlative excellency; 
and now he appears to be, in truth, what 
the scriptures describe him to be, the chiefest 
among ten thousand, and one altogether 
lovely. May the grace of God enable me to 
follow his heavenly example through life, 
that I may dwell with him in glory, forever! 
As I seem to myself to have hitherto led 
a more wicked life than the rest of my fellow 
creatures, I deem it proper, for the time to 
come, to devote the first day of every month 
to religious fasting, employing it in reading 
the scriptures, in devout meditation, and in 
prayer, that I may keep in mind the great 


business of life, which I now consider to be, 
a preparation for eternit3\ Mj' praj-er shall 
ever be, that a gracious God would be 
pleased to blot out my numberless and ag- 
gravated transgressions, for the sake of the 
atonement which Jesus has made; and that 
he would keep me, by his grace, without 
which, I am convinced I can do nothing 
acceptable to him, in the path of holiness, 
until it shall terminate in heavenly glory. 

Tuesday, 7. I have this day composed 
two prayers, which I design to use regularly 
and devoutly, morning and evening. It is 
not only a duty, but a privilege, thus to ap- 
proach the merc3^ seat of the gTeat Sovereign 
of the Universe, in the name of a prevalent 
Intercessor, and to supplicate the numerous 
blessings which we need, as well as to give 
thanks for those which we are continually 

Saturday, 25. An Indian has arrived, from 
a considerable distance down this river, who 
has delivered to me three letters from Mr. J. 
Stuart. The last of them is dated at 0-ke- 
na-gun Lake, which is situated at a short 
distance from the Columbia River. Mr. 
Stuart writes, that he met with every kind- 
ness and assistance from the Natives, on 
his way to that place ; that, after descending 
this river, during eight days, he was under 
the necessity of leaving his canoes, and of 
taking his property on horses, more than 
one hundred and fifty miles, to the above 


mentioned Lake. From that place, he states, 
that they can go all the way by water, to 
the Ocean, hy making a few portages; and 
he hopes to reach the Pacific Ocean, in twelve 
or fifteen days, at farthest. They will be de- 
layed, for a time, where they are, by the 
necessary construction of canoes. 

Friday, October 1. The first of my ap- 
pointe 1 days of religious fasting, has arrived ; 
and I have endeavoured to observe it, agree- 
ably to my resolution. 

Sunday, Xovember 7. This afternoon, Mr. 
Joseph La Roque and company arrived from 
the Columbia River. This gentleman went, 
the last summer, with Mr. J. G. McTavish 
and his part}', to the Pacific Ocean. On their 
return, they met Mr. Stuart and his company. 
Mr. La Roque, accompanied by two of Mr. 
Stuart's men, set off thence, to come to this 
place, by the circuitous way of Red Deer 
River, Lesser Slave Lake, and Dunvegan, 
from which last place, they were accompanied 
by my people, who have been, this summer, 
to the Rainy Lake. By them I have received 
a number of letters from people in this 
country, and from my friends in the United 

Tuesday, December 14. On the 1st inst. I 
set out for McLeod's Lake; and I there re- 
ceived several letters from my brothers below, 
which announce the truly afflicting intelli- 
gence, that my beloved son George is no 
longer to be uuuibered among the living! 


He was in good health on the second of 
March last, and a corpse on the eighteenth 
of the same month.— For some time, I could 
scarcely credit this intelligence ; though I had 
no reason to doubt its truth. This dispen- 
sation of divine providence is so unexpected, 
and so afflictive, that at first, I could scarce- 
ly bear up under it, with, a becoming chris- 
tian resignation. My tenderest affection was 
placed upon this darling boy ; and I fondly 
hoped, that he would be the solace of my de- 
clining years. But how delusive was this ex- 
pectation ! How frail and perishing are all 
earthly objects and enjoyments. A few days 
since, in my imagination, I was often wander- 
ing with delight, to the remote land of my 
kindred, and parental love centered in this 
promising son, for whom, principally, I wished 
to live, and for whom I would have been 
willing to die. Perhaps this child occupied 
a place in my heart, which my God and 
Saviour only may of right occupy. I hope 
that this affliction may be the means of dis- 
engaging my affections* from an inordinate 
attachment to earthly objects; and that it 
may induce me to fix my confidence and hope 
on things, which will never disappoint my ex- 
pectation. Tlie Judge of all the earth has 
done right; and it becomes me to be still 
and know, that he is God. I, too, must soon 
die ; and this dispensation is, perhaps, a sea- 
sonable warning to me, to he prepared to 
meet my own dissolution. I desire that the 


Holy Spirit may sanctify this affliction to 
me, and make it subservient to this impor- 
tant end. 

On my return from McLeod's Lake, I was 
accompanied by Mr. McDougall and family, 
who came to mourn with me, and the mother 
of my departed son, the loss of this dear 
object of our mutual affection. — Her distress, 
on receiving this intelligence, was gTeater, 
if possible, than m^^ own. I endeavoured, 
by some introductory remarks, on the uncer- 
tainty of earthly things, to prepare her mind 
for the disclosure, which I was about to 
make. Her fears were alarmed, by these 
remarks; and, probably, she discovered in 
my countenance, something to confirm them. 
When I informed her that our beloved son 
George was dead, she looked at me, with a 
wild stare of agony, and immediately threw 
herself upon the bed, where she continued, 
in a state of delirium, during the succeeding 

Saturday, January 22, 1814. On the 4th 
inst. Mr. McDougall and family, left this 
place, to return home. They were accompa- 
nied by two men, who have gone to Peace 
River, with letters. — The same day, Mr. La 
Roque and myself, accompanied by fourteen 
of my [)eople, went to Frazer's Lake. On the 
9tli I sent him, accompanied with two Ca- 
nadians and two Indians, with letters to the 
people, who are on the Columbia River. 
After having purchased what furs 1 could, 


and a sufficient quantity of salmon, I set 
out on my return home, where I arrived 
this evening. 

Friday, February 4. This evening, Mr. 
Donald McLeunen and company, arrived here 
from the Columbia Department, with a pack- 
et of letters. One of these is from Mr. John 
Stuart, informing me that the last autumn, 
the North West Company purchased of the 
Pacific Fur Company, all the furs which they 
had bought of the Natives, and all the goods 
which they had on hand. The people who 
were engaged in the service of that company, 
are to have a passage, the next summer, to 
Montreal, in the canoes of the North West 
Company, unless they choose to enter into 
our service. 

Sunday, April 17. As the ice appears to be 
out of this river, I have sent Mr. McLeunen, 
accompanied by two Canadians, in a small 
canoe, with letters to the gentlemen on Co- 
lumbia River. I am, therefore, deprived of 
an agreeable companion, who, I expected 
until lately, would pass the summer with me. 
— Happy are those, who have an amiable 
and intelligent friend, with whom they can, 
at pleasure, converse. y 

Friday, 22. Sent off my people to Mc- 
Leod's Lake, in order that they may be in 
readiness to embark for the Rainy Lake, as 
soon as the navigation opens. By them I 
have, as usual, forwarded my letters, and 
accounts of the place. If God permit, I shall 


pass another summer at this place, having 
with me ten persons. 

As this is the onlj^ season of the year when 
we can leave this country, now it is, that we 
have the most ardent desire of visiting the 
land of our nativity. At other seasons, the 
impossibihty of a departure, suppresses the 
rising ^vish to go, stern necessity binds us to 
our situation, and we rest in quietude until 
the return of another spring. Then all the 
finer feelings of affection take possession of 
our souls; and their strength seems to be 
increased, by the previous restraint, which 
had been laid upon them. 

Saturday, May 7. The weather is fine 
and vegetation is far advanced, for the sea- 
son. This lake is clear of ice; and the frost 
is chiefly out of the ground. Swans, 
bustards, and ducks, are numerous in the 
rivers and lakes; and, during the last ten 
days, an incredible number of c ranes h ave 
passed this, on their way to the north ; but 
none of them stopped here. 

Three Indians have come to this place 
from Frazer's Lake, to obtain the piece of a 
garment, belonging to an Indian of that 
place, which they s&j, was cut off by an 
Indian of this village. They are so super- 
stitious as firmly to believe, that, by virtue 
of this piece of garment, the Indian, who has 
it in his possession, is able to destroy the life 
of its owner, at pleasure. 

Friday, August 5. Salmon begin to come 


up this river. They are generally to be taken, 
in considerable numbers, until the latter 
part of September. During- about a month, 
they come up in multitudes ; and we can take 
any number of them that we please. 

Tupsdny, September 20. We have had 
but few salmon here, this year. It is only 
in every second season, that they are very 
numerous ; the reason of which, I am unable 
to assign. 

I have sent an Indian, with letters, to 
Dunvegan, on Peace River, which is distant 
from this place, at least, five hundred miles. 

Friday, 30. We have had but a few sal- 
mon in this river, during the past season. 
We hope, however, that a kind Providence 
has sent them to some of our neighbouring 
villages, where we shall be able to purchase 
what will be necessary, in addition to the 
white fish, which we expect to take, for our 
consumption, during the ensuing winter. But 
let my condition be ever so deplorable, I 
am resolved to place all my dependence on 
that Being, who depends on no one. 

Tuesday, October 18. This afternoon, I 
was agreeably surprised by the arrival of 
Mr. J. La Roque and company, in two 
canoes, laden with goods, from Fort George, 
at the mouth of the Columbia River, which 
place they left, the latter part of last Au- 
gust. Our vessels arrived there, in the 
months of March and April ; and, soon after, 
one of them set sail again, loaded with furs, 


for Canton in China. — Mr. I^a Roque brings 
the melancholy intelligence, that Messrs. D. 
McTavish, Alexander Henry, and five sailors 
were drowned, on the 22d of May last, in 
going out in a boat, from fort George, to 
the -vessel called the Isaac Tod, which lay 
at anchor without the bar, in going over 
which, this disaster befel them. With the 
former gentleman, I passed two winters at 
Dunvegan, on Peace River. He stood high 
in my esteem, and I considered him as one 
of my best friends; and I shall ever lament 
the sad catastrophe, which has thus suddenly 
removed him from my society, and from 
all earthly scenes. I hope that I may not 
be regardless of the admonition, addressed 
to me by this providence, to be also ready 
for my departure, to the world of spirits. 

Monday, 24. Sent Mr. La Roque, and 
the people who came up with him, to re- 
establish the post at Frazer's Lake. 

Saturday, 29. My people have returned 
from the Rainy Lake, and delivered me let- 
ters from my relatives below. They afford 
me renewed proof of the uncertainty of earthly 
objects and enjoyments, in the intelligence, 
that a brother's wife has been cut down by 
death, in the midst of her days, leaving a 
disconsolate husband, and two young chil- 
dren, to mourn over her early departure. I 
ought, however, to be thankful, that the 
rest of my numerous relatives, are blessed 
with health, and a reasonable portion of 


earthly comforts. I have also received a 
letter from Mr. John Stuart, who has ar- 
rived at McLeod's Lake, desiring me to go 
and superintend the affairs at Frazer's Lake, 
and to send Mr. La Roque, with several 
of the people who are there, to this place, 
that they may return to the Columbia de- 
partment, where it is presumed they will be 
more wanted, than in this quarter. To- 
morrow, therefore, I shall depart for Frazer's 

Thursday, November 3. Frazer's Lake. 
Here we arrived this afternoon, and found 
Mr. La Roque and his people, busily em- 
ployed, in bartering with the Natives, for 
furs and salmon, and in constructing houses. 
With this gentleman, I have spent a pleasant 
evening ; and I am happy to find that, from 
having been thoughtless and dissolute, he 
now appears to be the reverse of this. It is 
manifest, that he has recently reflected much, 
on the vanity of this world, and on the im- 
portance of the concerns of eternity ; and he 
now appears determined, by the aids of 
God's Holy Spirit, on a thorough reforma- 
tion. May he be enabled to persevere in 
this important undertaking. 

Tuesday, December 20. Messrs. Stuart 
and McDougall, with a number of men, have 
arrived from Stuart's Lake, for the purpose 
of proceeding with me to Stilla, in order to 
purchase salmon. The Indians of this vil- 
lage have not a sufficiency for themselves and 


for us, owing to the scarcity of salmon at 
several neighbouring villages, whose inhab- 
itants flock to this place, in hopes of ob- 
taining a subsistence, during the winter. 

Saturday, January 7, 1815. On the 29th 
ult. I accompanied my two friends to Stuart's 
Lake, where we passed the holidays together, 
in the intercourse of an intimate and endear- 
ing friendship. Each related how he had 
passed his youthful days, and even in what 
manner he had lived to the present hour; 
and we all readily acknowledged, that our 
lives had been very different from what we 
then wished they had been. I hope and 
believe, that we all parted, fully determined 
on a thorough reformation of conduct. May 
none of us fail to carry this resolution into 

Friday, February 3. During the whole 
of the last month, it has been the coldest 
weather, by far, that I have ever experi- 
enced, in New Caledonia. 

On the 11th ult. accompanied by six of 
my people and two of the Natives, I set 
out to visit the lands of the Nas-koo-tains, 
which lie along Frazer's River. This river 
Mr. Stuart followed some distance, when 
he left this place to proceed to the Columbia 
River. The above mentioned Indians never 
had any intercourse with the white people, 
until I went among them. We reached their 
first village, on the 19th; but as they were 
nearly destitute of provisions, and we had 


expended those which we took with us from 
this plaxje, we passed only one night with 
them. The next morning, we continued 
our route down the river, every day passing 
one or two small villages, until the 22d, 
when we met people from the Columbia River, 
with letters, &c. 

Frazer's River is about fifty rods wide, 
and has a pretty strong current. On the 
north side, the bank is generaly high ; but, 
on the other, it is low, and the country is 
level. In going from this, to the place where 
we fell upon the river, we occupied nine days, 
and the country which we passed over, is 
very uneven. We, however, crossed several 
ponds and small lakes, which were from 
one to fifteen miles in length. At these 
waters, the Natives pass the greater part of 
the summer, and subsist on excellent white 
fish, trout and carp ; but, towards the latter 
part of August, they return to the banks 
of the river, in order to take and dry salmon, 
for their subsistence during the succeeding 

Sunday, 12. As salmon are becoming 
rather scarce among the Indians of this 
village, they are preparing to visit the neigh- 
bouring lakes, in order to obtain a subsist- 
ence, from the fish that they hope to be 
able to take out of them. 

Moiirhiy, 27. The weather is serene and 
cold ; and thus far, this has been much the 
coldest winter that I have experienced in this 


part of the country. — The winters are, gen- 
erally milder here, than in most parts of 
the North West. Mr. Stuart has just left 
me, on his return home. The few days which 
he has spent here, were passed much to our 
mutual satisfaction; and I hope that we 
shall reap some benefit from this visit. Re- 
ligion was the principal topic, on which we 
conversed, because, to both of us, it was 
more interesting than any other. Indeed, 
what ought to interest us so much, as that 
which concerns our eternal welfare? I, at 
times, almost envj'" the satisfaction of those, 
who live among christian people, with whom 
they can converse, at pleasure, on the gTeat 
things of religion, as it must be a source 
of much satisfaction, and of great advantage, 
to a pious mind. 

Thursday, April 6. About ten daj'S since, 
an Indian of this place lost his wife, after 
a lingering illness of several months; and, 
shortly after, the disconsolate husband hung 
himself from the limb of a tree. For several 
daj^s previous to the fatal act, he appeared 
to be much cast down, which being observed 
by his companions, they endeavoured to cheer 
his spirits, by the consideration, that what 
had befallen him, had been suffered by mul- 
titudes of others, and was the common lot. 
He replied that he should conduct as his 
.own feelings dictated ; and that he had not 
forgotten the request of his djing companion, 

which was, that he would accompany her. 


Not long after, he was missing; and, search 
being made for him, he was found in the 
situation above mentioned. The strength 
of conjugal attachment is not an unfrequent 
cause of suicide, in every part of the Indian 

Monday, 24. The snow is fast leaving us, 
and fowls begin to come from the south. 

Wednesday, 26. I have sent letters to 
my friends below, to Stuart's Lake, which 
place they will leave, on their way, the first 
of next month. I expect to pass the ensuing 
summer here, having but a few people with 
me. But, by dividing my time between read- 
ing, meditation and exercise, I hope that 
it will pass not unpleasantly, away. 

Wednesday, May 10. We have surrounded 
a piece of ground with palisades, for a garden, 
in which we have planted a few potatoes, 
and sowed onion, carrot, beet and parsnip 
seeds, and a little barley. I have, also, 
planted a very little Indian corn, without 
the expectation that it will come to maturity. 
The nights in this region are too cool, and 
the summers are too short, to admit of its 
ripening. There is not a month in the whole 
year, in which water does not congeal; 
though the air in the day time, in the sum- 
mer, is warm, and we even have a few days 
of sultry weather. — The soil, in many places 
in New Caledonia, is tolerably good. 

Tuesday, May 30. I have just returned 
from a visit to Mr. Stuart, who passes the 


summer at Stuart's Lake. On the mountain, 
which I crossed in going there, I found snow, 
two feet, at least, in depth. 

Friday, June 16. Soon after the Natives 
left their village, last February, to go to 
the small lakes, for the purpose of taking- 
fish, four of their number deceased. Their 
corpses were kept, by their relations, to the 
present time, when they are bringing them 
to the village in order to burn them. Little 
else but the skeletons, now remain.— In the 
winter season, the Carriers often keep their 
dead in their huts during five or six months, 
before they will allow them to be burned. 
At this season, the coldness of the weather 
enables them to keep the bodies, without 
their becoming offensive; and they are un- 
willing that the lifeless remains of the objects 
of their affection, should be removed forever 
from their sight, until it becomes a matter 
of necessity. 

Sunday, 18. This afternoon eight of the 
Nate-ote-tains came to pay a visit to the 
Indians of this village, by whom they were, 
at first, treated in a friendly manner. Soon 
after their arrival, they began to play, as is 
the custom of the Indians, whenever the 
people of different villages meet. Things 
proceeded smoothly, until the strangers 
began to be winners, when disputes arose. 
An open contest was prevented, by the res- 
toration of the property' won ; but a coolness 
between the parties, was visible. The stran- 


gerssoon set out, to return home; but as they 
were embarking in their canoes, a worthless 
fellow fired upon them, and killed one o! 
them. Tliis disaster caused them to hasten 
their departure, uttering at the same time 
the threat, that they would soon return, 
with a large band of their relations, to 
revenge the death of their companion. — 
Human life is often sacrificed for a trifle, 
among the savages; and he only may feel 
secure, who is prepared to oppose strength 
to aggression. 

Monday, July 24. Fruits, of various 
kinds, now begin to ripen. Of this delicious 
food, the present prospect is, that we shall 
soon have an abundance; and for thisfavour, 
it becomes us to be grateful to the Bestower. 
The person who is surrounded with the com- 
forts of civilized life, knows not how we 
prize these delicacies of the wilderness. Our 
circumstances, also, teach us to enjoy and 
to value the intercourse of friendsliip. To 
be connected, and to have intercourse, with 
a warm and disinterested friend, who is able, 
and will be faithful, to point out our faults, 
and to direct us by his good counsel, is 
surely a great blessing. Such a friend, I 
have, in my nearest neighbour, Mr. Stuart. 
For some time past, he has frequently writ- 
ten to me long, entertaining and instructive 
letters, which are a cordial to my spirits, 
too often dejected, by the loneliness of my 
situation, and more frequently, by reflections 


on my past life of folly and of sin. Mr. 
James McDougall, also, another gentleman in 
this department, is equally dear to me. His 
distance from me, renders intercourse less 
practicable ; but when we meet, we endeavour 
to make up in conversation, for our long 

Frkhiy, August 4. The holy scriptures 
contain the most abundant instruction, in re- 
gard to the duties which we owe to God, and to 
our fellow creatures. Toaid me in keepingthese 
instructions, habitually and distinctly in view, 
that mj^ life may thereby be more exemplary, 
I think proper to form the following resolu- 
tions, which I hope, by the aid of the Holy 
Spirit, to be enabled to observe, during my 

Resolved, that the scoffs of the wicked, di- 
rected against serious religion, shall never 
have any other effect upon me, than to 
make me strive, the more earnestly, to lead 
the life of a sincere christian. 

Resolved, to be in the company of the 
wicked, as little as possible ; and when among 
such people, to endeavour to persuade them 
in such a way as may be consistent with 
propriety, to forsake tlieir evil courses. 

Resolved, to assist the poor and needy, 
so far as may be consistent with my means ; 
hoping that avarice may never prevent me 
from judging correctly, in regard to this 

Resolved, never to let a day pass, when. 


at home, or when convenient, abroad, with- 
out reading a portion of the holy scrip- 
tures, and spending half an hour or more, 
in meditating on what I have read; and that 
the whole of the Sabbath, when it is not in 
my power to attend publick worship, shall 
be spent in prayer, reading the bible, or 
sermons, or some other- religious book, in 
self examination, and in meditating on the 
eternal world. 

Resolved, to offer up daily prayers to 
the throne of grace, for a right temper of 
mind, that I may be constant and diligent, 
in strictly observing the above resolutions. 
And I pray that my humble endeavours may, 
by the blessing of God, keep me in the path 
of holiness, so that I may, from day to day, 
become better prepared to enter the world 
of bliss, whenever my Maker and Redeemer 
shall see fit to terminate my mortal course- 

Monday, 7. At half past seven, A. M. 
we had an earthquake, which lasted about 
twenty seconds. At that time I was sitting 
in a chair, in the house, and the agitation 
put me, and the whole house, in a motion 
like that of a canoe when rolled about by 
considerable swells. The Natives say, that 
a similar shaking of the eartli occurs, almost 
yearly, at this place. 

Sunday, 13. Salmon begin to come up 
this river, which lights up joy in the counte- 
nances, both of ourselves and of the Natives ; 


for we had all become nearly destitute of 
provisions, of any kind. A kind Providence 
will not allow us to suffer want, though we 
so little deserve favours. 

Monday, October 2. Within a few days 
past, we have caught, in nets made for the 
purpose, of strong twine, three sturgeon, one 
of which measured ten feet and three inches 
in length, and four feet and one inch round 
his middle, w-hich might weigh about four 
hundred pounds. All that we have taken, 
were uncommonly fat, and of the best flavour 
of any that I have ever eaten. 

Friday, 13. This afternoon, the Natives 
sent for me to come and see one of their 
young women, who lay at the point of death, 
at their village ; and, merely to please them, 
I went, without expecting to render her any 
service, especially with the medicines which 
we have here. I found her so far gone that 
I thought it would not be proper to give her 
any thing. I told the Indians, moreover, 
that if she should die, shortly after taking 
our medicines, they would say, as they ever 
do in such cases, that I was the cause of 
her death. They assured me however, to 
the contrary ; and I gave her a simple medi- 
cine, which I supposed could do her neither 
good nor harm, with which they were 

I understood that her relations had said, 
that acertain Indian, by his magic, had caused 
her illness, and that he would finally take 


her life. I, therefore, took this opportunity 
of repeating again, what I had often told 
them before, that God, the infinitely power- 
ful being, who made every thing, had alone 
the power of causing their dissolution, when- 
ever he thought proper. Upon this, one of 
the chiefs, who thought himself more knowing 
than the others, observed, that it was the 
God of the salmon, who remained at the 
sea, who was taking the girl's life. I re- 
plied, that God is in heaven above; but 
that, so searching are his eyes, he can easily 
see what takes place on the face of the whole 
earth. They said, it might be so; but they 
could not conceive, by what means I came 
to have a knowledge of these things. This, 
I endeavoured to explain to them. 

Wednesday, November 1. This afternoon, 
three of our men arrived from the Rainy 
Lake, who say that they left the remainder 
of their company at McLeod's and Stuart's 
Lakes. They delivered me letters from people 
in this country; but none from home. By 
the men in the other canoes, I hope to re- 
ceive letters from my friends below. We 
are happy to be informed, that peace has 
taken place between Great Britain and the 
United States. My earnest desire is, that 
they maj' long continue to enjoy this blessing. 

Thursday, 16. We have now about three 
inches of snow on the ground. 

Sunday, March 17, 1816. In consequence 
of the late arrival, at fort Chipewyan, of 


the men who went to the Rainy Lake, two 
canoes, which were expected last fall, could 
not then proceed here, which is the reason why 
I have but just received the letters that I then 
expected, from my friends below. Tliey bring 
me the distressing- intelligence, that two of 
my brothers are brought, by a consump- 
tion, to the borders of the grave. Happy 
should I consider myself, could I once more 
see them in this w^orld. But, if this may 
not be, the will of the Lord be done. By 
this affliction I have renewed proof, that 
this world cannot be my rest ; and I pray 
God to prepare me, and my dying brothers, 
for that happy abode, where a separation 
of friends never causes the heart to bleed. 

Monday, April 15. My desire to return 
to my native country has never been so 
intense, since I took up my abode in the 
wilderness, as it is now, in consequence of 
the peculiar situation of ni}'^ friends; yet, 
I cannot think of doing it this season, as 
it is absolutely necessary that I should pass 
the ensuing summer at this place. 

I shall write to my friends below, a few 
days hence; and as we live in a world of 
disappointment and death, I am resolved 
to forward to them b}'^ Mr. John Stuart, 
a copy of my Journal, in order that they 
may know something of the manner in which 
I have been emploj'ed, both as it respects 
my temporal and spiritual concerns, while 
in the wilderness, if I should never enjoy 


the inexpressible pleasure of a personal inter- 
course with them. 

WWlne.sfhiy, 24. I have just returned 
from Stuart's Lake. While there, I agreed 
with Mr. George McDougall to remain in 
this country two years or more, as clerk to 
the North West company. He came out 
the last summer from Canada, with Lord 
Selkirk's party, without having obligated 
himself to continue with them, for any defi- 
nite time. After they arrived at Fort Ver- 
milion on Peace River, he was treated by 
his superiour, Mr. John Clarke, in so unbe- 
coming a manner, that he left them, and had 
come into this quarter to visit his brother, 
Mr. James McDougall, before he should re- 
turn to Canada, which he designed to do 
the ensuing summer. 

Saturday, July 20. Strawberries begin 
to ripen, and we have the prospect of an 
abundance of them, as well as of other kinds 
of fruit. 

I now pass a short time every day, very 
pleasantly, in teaching my little daughter 
Polly to read and spell words in the Eng- 
lish language, in which she makes good 
progress, though she knows not the mean- 
ing of one of them. In conversing with my 
children, I use entirely the Cree, Indian lan- 
guage; with their mother I more frequently 
employ the French. Her native tongue, how- 
ever, is more familiar to her, which is the 
reason why our children have been taught 


to speak that, in preference to the French 

Tuesdiiy, September 9. Salmon begin to 
come up this river. 

Thursday, October 3. We have taken 
our vegetables out of the ground. We hare 
forty-one bushels of potatoes, the produce 
of one bushel planted the last spring. Our 
turnips, barley, &c. have produced well. 

Saturday, November 23. By our people 
who returned this afternoon from the Rainy 
Lake, I have received letters, which announce 
the afflictive intelligence, that two of my 
brothers, of whose decline I had before been 
informed, are gone into eternity. The happy 
days that I had fondly hoped that I should 
pass in their society on earth, I shall never 
enjoy. Such is the uncertainty of all earthly 
expectations. But the Judge of all the earth 
has done right. — Mj- departed brothers gave 
evidence, to those around them, that they 
died in the faith and hope and peace of 
the gospel. They are gone, I trust, to a 
world where sin and suffering cannot follow 

When the cold hands of death shall have 
been laid upon a few more of my relatives, 
there will be nothing remaining on the earth 
to console me for their loss. Nothing revives 
my drooping spirits in view of the departure 
of my friends, one after another, from 3'^ear 
to year, into eternity, like the hope that, 
through rich grace, I may be at length per- 


mitted to join their society, in a world of 
perfect purity and of uninterrupted and ever- 
lasting joy. 

We rarely prize our blessings in a suitable 
manner, until we learn their value by being 
deprived of tlieni. I feel the force of this 
truth, in regard to my deceased brothers. 
To one of them in a particular manner, I am 
deeply indebted ; and I have never been fully 
sensible of his worth, until now. During 
the whole period of my residence in this 
country, he has written to me annually, 
long, affectionate, and instructive letters. 
For a number of years past, religion was the 
great subject of them. He was tenderly con- 
cerned for my spiritual welfare; and doubt- 
less learned from my letters, that I was 
lingering on the gloomy confines of infidelity, 
and little disposed to heed, as I ought to 
have done, his friendly admonition. So 
far from being discouraged by this circum- 
stance, it only rendered him more vigorous 
and persevering in his efforts ; and his letters 
stand chief among the means, which have 
been blessed, as I would hope, to my eon- 
version from the love and practice of sin, 
to the fear and service of God. These letters 
have also been of use to the few friends, to 
whom I have shown them. It would have 
given me great pleasure to liave acknowl- 
edged, in person, the obligation which I am 
under to him ; but it becomes not me to 
dictate to infinite wisdom. 


I have, also, received letters from gentle- 
men in different parts of this country, which 
inform me of the many disasters that befel 
the people whom Lord Selkirk sent the ^-ear 
before, from Scotland, the Orkney Islands, 
and Canada, some of whom were destined 
to form a colony on the Red River, and 
others to traffic with the Natives, in dif- 
ferent parts of the Indian country. They 
consisted at first, as I am informed, of two 
or three hundred men, together with a few 
women and children. Those, who went to 
establish themselves on the Red River, at a 
short distance from its entrance into the 
great Winnipick Lake, began, soon after 
their arrival, to behave in a hostile manner 
toward the people of tlie North West Com- 
pany, who have establishments in that quar- 
ter. Of some of our forts, they actually 
took possession, and carried away the prop- 
erty which they found in them ; and, in some 
instances, they set fire to the forts, and 
reduced them to ashes. They also took 
Duncan Cameron Esq. a partner of the North 
West Company, and another gentleman, 
who is a clerk, whom they carried, in the 
spring, to Hudson's Bay, with the intention, 
as they stated, of taking them to England. — 
In the course of the winter, as the Express 
of the North West Company was passing 
that way, destined to, the Soult St. Maries, 
they took possession of that also,^ perused 
the letters and other |)apers which had b^en 


sealed up, and finally carried them to York 
Factory, at Hudson's Bay. 

All this un merited treatment, at length so 
provoked the people of the North West Com- 
pany, that they proceeded to retake their 
own forts, which had not been burned, as 
well as some property belonging to those 
disturbers of the peace. 

Ill June, a number of the Brules, that is, 
people whose fathers were white men, and 
whose mothers were Indian women, proceeded 
from the upper part of Red River, toward 
the place of its entrance into the I^ake, in 
order to guard some property there be- 
longing to the N. W. Company. On their 
way, they were obliged to pass, for about 
two miles, over an open plain, directly behind 
Lord Selkirk's establishment. As soon as 
they were observed, his people came out in 
a body, and fired upon them, twice. This 
was unexpected by the Brules; neither were 
they prepared for such an encounter, as 
many of them had neither gun nor ammuni- 
tion. Perceiving however, that they must 
defend themselves or be cut off, those who 
had arms returned the fire; and the contest 
continued, until twenty two of the noble 
Earl's people fell, and some others were 
wounded. The Brules had only one man 
killed, and one wounded. — This unhappy 
affair broke up the colony. Some of the 
people went to Hudson's Bay; but the 
greater number returned to Canada. 


Those of Lord Selkirk's people who came 
to the English River and Athabasca, suf- 
fered greatly for the want of provisions. 
Out of nearly one hundred who came to 
Athabasca, twelve actually lost their lives 
by starvation ; and all the others must have 
shared the same unhappy fate, had not the 
people of the North West Company supplied 
them with provisions. In short, Lord Sel- 
kirk lost the last year, in fight and by star- 
vation, sixty eight of his men ! and still, 
with the phrenzy of a madman, he is re- 
solved on pursuing his wild projects. 

Wednesday, December 4. There is now 
abouli a foot and an half of snow on the 

I have sent fifteen men, with each a sledge 
drawn by two dogs and loaded with salmon, 
to McLeod's Lake, for the subsistence of 
the people who are to pass the winter there 
and for the additional number who will be 
there in the spring, to make up the furs into 
packs. Salmon are our chief subsistence 
here ; and they are taken only in the waters 
which are discharged into the Pacific Ocean. 
The outlet of McLeod's Lake enters Peace 
River, whose waters, are finally discharged 
into the North Sea. 

Thursday, January 2, 1817. I have just 
returned from a neighbouring village, where 
my interpreter gave one of the natives a 
decent drubbing, for having stolen from us. 
Soon after, the Indian who had been beaten, 


with a number of his relations, flew to arras, 
and surrounded our camp; but they pro- 
ceeded at first no farther than to gesticulate 
in a threatening manner. Tliis I permitted 
them, for a short time, to do, when I ordered 
my men to load their guns; though I was 
determined that they should not fire, unless 
it became a matter of necessity. I then told 
the Natives that we were prepared to defend 
ourselves, and, if they intended to fire upon 
us, to begin; or otherwise, to walk off, and 
lay aside their arms, which if they would 
not do, we should fire upon them. They 
concluded to retire, and shortly after came 
back without their arms, and began to trade, 
as if nothing had happened. 

Monday, February 10. This evening the 
mother of my children, was delivered of a 
daughter, whom I name Sally Harmon. 

Wednesday, 19. I am this day thirty 
nine years of age. When I reflect on the 
events of my past life, and recollect, especial- 
ly, in how many instances a merciful God has 
snatched me from the very jaws of death, 
when it would undoubtedly have delivered 
me over to everlasting destruction, I am 
grieved and ashamed, in view of the in- 
gratitude with which I have requited such 
infinite kindness. My past life now appears 
to me to have been a continual course of 
sins, committed against a merciful Creator, 
Benefactor and Redeemer. I have even de- 
nied the Lord that brought me, and that 


because I could see no need of that atone- 
ment for sin, which is the only thing that 
has stood between me and hopeless perdition ! 
If I have indeed been rescued from such a 
wretched condition, if I have been effectually^ 
convinced of my sinfulness, and have been 
led, in the exercise of faith, to apply unto 
the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and for 
sanctification, surely, it can be attributed to 
nothing but the grace of God. Much of 
my life has been spent in the service of sin; 
the little that remains, ought to be sacredly 
devoted to God and the Redeemer. May 
the Holy Spirit enable me to live in the time 
to come, as a disciple of the blessed Saviour. 
Monday, September 1. Stuarfs Lake. 
On the 8th of May last, I left New Cale- 
donia, and went as far as Fort Chipewyan, 
on the Athabasca Lake. This afternoon, 
I returned to this place. WTiile I was at that 
lake, the Indians who were encamped about 
the fort, to the number of about one hun- 
dred, rose up in arms against us, on account 
of a quarrel between one of their people and 
one of our men. We did not, however, come 
to blows; and, after a parley, the Indians 
were persuaded to lay down their arms. — 
Those Chipeways are a savage people; and 
they have as I believe, killed more white 
men, than any other tribe in the North 
West country. A few years since, they burned 
one of our forts, and killed every person 
belonging to it. 


On the 21st of June, I left Athabasca 
Lake, at which period, there was still ice 
floating about in it. In coming up Peace 
I ^x" River, we saw many of the buffaloe and red 
deer, and killed as many of them as we 
wanted for our own consumption. Black 
bears, also, were in plenty ; and of them, wo 
killed eleven. One day as I was walking 
along the beach alone without my gun, a 
black bear, that had cubs, pursued me for 
nearly a mile. Happily for me, I could out- 
run her; and I therefore escaped from her 
terrible paws. 

A little below the Rocky Mountain Port- 
age, along the side of the river, there is a 
kind of marsh where earth, of a beautiful 
yellow colour is found, which when burned, 
becomes a pretty lively red. The natives use 
it as paint, for which it answers tolerably 
well. We, also, use it to paint our forts and 

Saturday, October 4. This evening, an 
Indian arrived from Frazer's Lake, bringing 
the disagreeable intelligence, that yesterday 
in the afternoon, our fort there was con- 
sumed by fire. We have reason to be thank- 
ful, however, that most of the property which 
was in it, was saved. 

Thursday, 16. We have taken our vegeta- 
bles out of the ground. In consequence of the 
very dry summer, they have yielded but 
poorly. There were months, during which 
not a drop of rain fell. — Fruit of all kinds 


has been uncommonly abundant this sea- 

Wednesday, February 18, 1818. I have 
just returned from a jaunt of twenty three 
days, to a place down Frazer's River. While 
there, the Natives had concerted a plan to 
massacre us all ; but I discovered it, and kept 
my people on their gniard. The Indians, per- 
ceiving this, dared not attempt to execute 
their bloody and unprovoked purpose. 

Saturday, May 2. Expecting that the ice 
in Peace River will soon break up, I have 
sent off the last of our people who are going 
to the Rainy lake; and by them I have for- 
warded, as usual, my accounts of the place, 
and letters to my friends below. I look for- 
ward, with pleasing anticipation, to the re- 
turn of another spring, when I hope, if my 
life is spared, I shall myself leave this coun- 
try on a visit to the civilized world. 

Thursday, September 3. Last night, there 
fell about four inches of snow, which is earlier 
than I have ever before seen it fall, in this 
part of the country. On the 6th ult. salmon 
began to come up this river; but they are 
not very numerous. 

In the month of June, we took out of this 
lake twenty one sturgeon, that were from 
eight to twelve feet in length. One of them 
measured twelve feet two inches, from its ex- 
treme points, four feet eleven inches round the 
middle; and would weigh from five hundred 
and fifty, to six hundred pounds. All the 


sturgeon that we liave caught, or this side of 
the mountain, are far superior in flavour, to 
any I ever saw in any other part of the 

A few days since, we cut down and threshed 
our barley. The five quarts, which I sowed 
on the first of May, have yielded as many 
bushels. One acre of ground, producing in 
the same proportion that this has done, 
would yield eighty four bushels. This is 
sufficient proof that the soil, in many places 
in this quarter, is favourable to agriculture. 
It will probably be long, however, before it 
will exhibit the fruits of cultivation. The 
Indians, though they often suffer for the want 
of food, are too lazy to cultivate the ground. 
I have frequently tried to prevail on some of 
them to hoe and prepare a piece of ground, 
promising them that I would give them po- 
tatoes and turnips, with which to plant it ; 
but I have not succeeded. Having been from 
their infancy trained up to privation, the fear 
of want is a much less powerful stimulus to 
excite them to industry, than it is to those 
who have always been accustomed to the 
comforts of civilized life. 

Tuesday, October 13. We have several 
inches of snow on the gTOund. 

For several years past, Iroquois from 
Canada, have been in the habit of coming 
into different parts of the North West coun- 
try, to hunt the beaver, «&c. The Natives of 
the country, consider them as intruders. As 


they are mere rovers, they do not feel the 
same interest, as those who permanently 
reside here, in keeping- the stock of animals 
good, and therefore they make great havoek 
among the game, destroying alike the ani- 
mals which are young and old. A number of 
Iroquois have passed several summers on 
this side of the mountain, which circumstance 
they knew to be displeasing to the Indians 
here, who have often threatened to kill them^ 
if they persisted in destroying the animals on 
their lands. These menaces were disregarded. 
A month since, an Iroquois, with his wife and 
two children, were all killed, while asleep, by 
two Carriers of this village, which melancholy 
event, I hope, will prevent any of the Iro- 
quois from coming into this region again. 

Saturday, November 7. We have now 
about a foot of snow on the ground. — To- 
day our people returned from the Eainy 
Lake, and say that, on account of the large 
quantities of ice that was drifting in Peace 
River, they were obliged to leave the gTeater 
part of the goods, which they had on board 
of the canoes, but a short distance this side 
of the Rocky Mountain Portage. We shall 
be obliged, therefore, to bring these goods on 
sledges, drawTi by dogs from that place, 
which is distant from this, about two hun- 
dred and eightj^ miles. 

Saturday, February 28, 1819. Mr. George 
McDougall has arrived here from Frazer's 
Lake, to remain, as I am going to McLeod's 


Lake, to prepare for a departure for Head 
Quarters; and my intention is, during tlie 
next summer, to visit my native land. I 
design, also, to take my family with me, and 
leave them there, that they may be educated 
in a civilized and christian manner. The 
mother of my children will accompany me; 
and, if she shall be satisfied to remain in that 
part of the world, I design to make her regu- 
larly my wife bj^ a formal marriage. It will 
be seen by this remark, that my intentions 
have materially changed, since the time that 
I at first took her to live with me; and as 
my conduct in this respect is different from 
that which has generally been pursued by the 
gentlemen of the North West Company, it 
will be proper to state some of the reasons 
which have governed my decision, in regard 
to this weighty affair. It has been made 
with the most serious deliberation ; and, I 
hope, under a solemn sense of my accounta- 
bility to God. 

Having lived with this woman as my wife, 
though we were never formally contracted to 
each other, during life, and having children 
by her, I consider that I am under a moral 
obligation not to dissolve the connexion, if 
she is willing to continue it. The union which 
has been formed between us, in the providence 
of God, has not only been cemented by a 
long and mutual performance of kind offices, 
but, also, by a more sacred consideration. 
Ever since my own mind was turned effectually 


to the subject of religion, I hare taken 
pains to instruct her in the great doctrines 
and duties of Christianity. My exertions have 
not been in vain. Through the merciful 
agency of the Holy Spirit, I trust that she 
has become a partaker with me, in the con- 
solations and hopes of the gospel. I consider 
it to be my duty to take her to a christian 
land, where she may enjoy Divine ordinances, 
grow in grace, and ripen for glory. — We have 
wept together over the early departure of 
several children, and especially, over the 
death of a beloved son. We have children 
still living, who are equall}"^ dear to us both. 
How could I spend my days in the civilized 
world, and leave my beloved children in the 
wilderness? The thought has in it the bitter- 
ness of death. How could I tear them from a 
mother's love, and leave her to mourn over 
their absence, to the day of her death? Pos- 
sessing only the common feelings of human- 
ity, how could I think of her, in such cir- 
cumstances, ^\'ithout anguish? On the whole, 
I consider the course which I design to pur- 
sue, as the only one which religion and hu- 
manity would justify. 

Mr. McDougall informs me, that, not long 
since, an Indian died at Frazer's Lake, and 
left behind him a widow, who had been in 
similar circumstances before, by the loss of a 
former husband. A day or two before the 
corpse was to be burned, she told the rela- 
tions of her late husband, that she was 


resolved not to undergo a second slavery. 
She therefore left the tent, secretly, in the 
evening, and hung herself from a tree. 

Among the Carriers, widows are slaves to 
the relations of their deceased husbands, for 
the term of two or three years from the 
commencement of their widowhood, during 
which, they are generally treated in a cruel 
manner. Their heads are shaved, and it be- 
longs to them to do all the drudgery, about 
the tent. They are frequently beaten with a 
club or an axe, or some such weapon. 

Sciturday, May 8. McLeod's Lake. I ar- 
rived here about two months since. Yester- 
day, the most of our people embarked with 
the returns of this place, in three canoes ; and 
a few hours hence, I shall, with my family', 
proceed in another, which will be pushed on 
by six Canadians. 

It is now eight years and an half, since I 
came to the west side of the Rocky Mountain. 
My life, which has often been in jeopardy, is 
still preserved ; my family have generally en- 
joyed, in a high degree, the comforts, which 
this part of the world affords ; and, especially, 
they have been extensively blessed with 
health of body, and contentment of mind. 
Our worldly affairs have prospered, to as 
great an extent as we could reasonably ex- 
pect. For all these blessings, it becomes us 
to return unfeigned thanks, to the great 
Giver of every good gift. 

Friday, 14. Rocky Mountain Portage. 


All the way to this place, we have drifted 
down, amidst great quantities of ice, by 
which, at five different places, the river was 
completely blocked up, so that we were 
obliged to tarry, until the water rose so 
high, as to remove these barriers. This is 
the reason why we have been so long in com- 
ing to this place. Had the river been high, 
and yet clear from ice, the current is so 
strong, that we might have reached here in 
two days. 

Wednesday, August 18. Fort William. I 
have at length arrived at head quarters. In 
coming from New Caledonia to this place, 
which is a distance of at least three thousand 
miles, nothing uncommon has occurred. A 
few days hence, I shall leave this place, to 
proceed to Canada. As I have already de- 
scribed the country between this, and Mon- 
treal, I shall here conclude my Journal. 



Like their ancestors the French, the Cana- 
dian Voyagers possess lively and fickle dis- 
positions; and they are rarely subject to 
depression of spirits, of long continuance, 
even when in circumstances the most adverse. 
Although what they consider good eating 
and drinking constitutes their chief good, 
yet, when necessity compels them to it, they 
submit to great privation and hardship, not 
only without complaining, but even with 
cheerfulness and gaiety. They are very talka- 
tive, and extremely thoughtless, and make 
many resolutions, which are almost as soon 
broken as formed. They never think of pro- 
viding for future wants; and seldom lay up 
any part of their earnings, to serve them in 
a day of sickness, or in the decline of life. 
Trifling provocations will often throw them 
into a rage; but they are easily appeased 
when in anger, and they never harbour a 
revengeful purpose against those, bj^ whom 
they conceive that they have been injured. 
They are not brave; but when they appre- 


hend little danger, they will often, as they 
say, play the man. They are very deceitful, 
are exceedingly smooth and polite, and are 
even gross flatterers to the face of a person, 
whom tliey will basely slander, behind his 
back. They pay little regard to veracity or 
to honesty. Their word is not to be trusted ; 
and they are much addicted to pilfering, and 
will even steal articles of considerable value, 
when a favourable opportunity offers. A 
secret they cannot keep. They rarely feel 
gratitude, though they are often generous. 
They are obedient, but not faithful servants. 
By flattering their vanity, of which they have 
not a little, they may be persuaded to under- 
take the most difficult enterprises, provided 
their lives are not endangered. Although 
the}' are generally unable to read, yet they 
acquire considerable knowledge of human 
nature, and some general information, in 
regard to the state of this country. As they 
leave Canada while they are young, they 
have but little knowledge of the principles of 
the religion, which their Priests profess to 
follow, and before they have been long in the 
Indian country, they pay little more atten- 
tion to the sabbath, or the worship of God, 
or any other Divine institution, than the 
savages themselves. 





As the Indians living on the west side of 
the Rocky Mountain, differ greatly in their 
langTiage, manners, customs, religion, &c. 
from those on the east side, it may be proper 
to give concisely a separate account of them, 
and of the country which they inhabit. In 
doing this, I shall dwell more particularly on 
those things which are peculiar to these peo- 
ple, as I design, in another place, to give a 
general description of the Indians, which shall 
have a principal reference, however, to the 
more numerous tribes on the east side of the 
Mountain. I shall, I hope, be pardoned, if 
some repetition shall be found, of things con- 
tained in my journal, as it cannot easily be 

That part of the country, west of the 
Rocky Mountain, with which I am ac- 
quainted, has, ever since the North \Yest 
Company first made an establishment there, 
which was in 1806, gone by the name of 
New Caledonia ; and may extend from north 
to south, about five hundred miles, and from 
east to west, three hundred and fifty or four 


hundred. The post at Stuart's Lake, is 
nearly in the centre of it, and lies, as already 
mentioned in my Journal, in 54° 30' North 
Latitude, and in 125*^ West Longitude from 
Greenwich. In this large extent of country, 
there are not more than five thousand In- 
dians, including men, women and children. 

New Caledonia is considerably mountain- 
ous. Between its elevated parts, however, 
there are pretty extensive valleys, along 
which pass innumerable small rivers and 
brooks. It contains a great number of small 
lakes, and two which are considerably large. 
These are Stuart's Lake, which is about three 
hundred miles in circumference, and Nate- 
ote-tain Lake, which is nearly twice as large. 
I am of the opinion that about one sixth 
part of New Caledonia, is covered with water. 
There are but two large rivers. One of these 
I denominate Eraser's River, which may be 
sixty or seventy rods wide. It rises in the 
Rocky Mountain, within a short distance of 
the source of Peace River; and is the river 
which Sir Alexander McKenzie followed a 
considerable distance, when he went to the 
Pacific Ocean, in 1793, and which he took to 
be the Columbia River ; but it is now known 
to be several hundred miles north of that noble 
stream. The other large river of New Cale- 
donia, arises near Great Bear's Lake; and 
after passing through several considerable 
lakes, it enters the Pacific Ocean, several 
hundred miles north of Eraser's River. 


The mountains of New Caledonia, in point 
of elevation, are not to be compared with 
those which we pass through in coming up 
that part of Peace River, which lies between 
the Rocky Mountain portage and Finlay's 
Branch. There are some, however, which are 
pretty loft}'; and on the summits of one in 
particular, which we see from Stuart's Lake, 
the snow lies during the whole of the year. 

The weather is not severely cold, except 
for a few days in the winter, when the mer- 
cury is sometimes as low as 32° below zero, 
in Faranheit's thermometer. The remainder 
of the season, is much milder than it is on 
the other side of the mountain, in the same 
Latitude. The summer is never very warm, 
in the day time ; and the nights are generally 
cool. In every month in the year, there are 
frosts. Snow generally falls about the fif- 
teenth of November, and is all dissolved by 
about the fifteenth of May. About McLeod's 
Lake the snow sometimes falls to the depth 
of five feet ; and I imagine that it is to be 
attributed to the great depth of the snow, 
that no large animals of any kind, excepting 
a few solitary ones, are to be met with. 

There are a few Moose; and the Natives 
occasionally, kill a black bear. Cariboo are 
also found, at some seasons. Some smaller 
animals are found, though they are not 
numerous. They consist of beavers, otters, 
Ijmxes or cats, fishers, martins, minks, wol- 
verines, foxes of different kinds, badgers, pole- 



cats, hares and a few wolves. The fowls are 
swans, bustards, geese, cranes, ducks of 
several kinds, partridges, «&c. All the lakes 
and rivers are well furnished with excellent 
fish. They are the sturgeon, white fish, trout, 
sucker and many of a smaller kind. Salmon, 
also, visit the streams, in very considerable 
numbers, in Autumn. A small share of in- 
dustry, therefore, would enable the Natives, 
at all times, to provide for themselves a suf- 
ficient supply of agreeable, wholesome and 
nutritious food. 

The Natives of New Caledonia, we denomi- 
nate Carriers; but they call themselves Ta- 
cul-lies, which signifies people who go upon 
water. This name originated from the fact 
that they generally go from one village to 
another, in canoes. The}" are of the middle 
stature, and the men are well proportioned ; 
but the women are generally short and 
thick, and their lower limbs are dispropor- 
tionately large. Both sexes are remarkably 
negligent and slovenly, in regard to their 
persons ; and they are filthy in their cookery. 
Their dispositions are lively and quiet ; and 
they appear to be happy, or at least con- 
tented, in their wretched situation. They are 
indolent; but apparently more from habit 
than by nature; and probably this trait in 
their character, originates from the circum- 
stance, that they procure a livelihood, with 
but little labour. WTienever we employ any 
of them, either to work about the fort or in 


voyaging, they are sufficiently laborious and 
active ; and they appear to be pleased, when 
we thus furnish them with employment. 
They are not in the habit of stealing articles 
of great value; but they are the sliest pil- 
ferers, perhaps, "upon the face of the earth. 
They vrill not only pilfer from us, but, when 
favourable opportunities offer, they are 
guilty of the same low vice among their 
friends and relations. They are remarkably 
fond of the white people. They seldom begin 
a quarrel with any of us, though thej are 
naturally brave. \Mien any of our people, 
however, treat them ill, thej^ defend them- 
selves with courage, and with considerable 
dexterity; and some of them will fight a 
tolerable Canadian battle. 

Their language is very similar to that of 
the Chipewyans, aiid has a great affinity to 
the tongues, spoken by the Beaver Indians 
and the Sicannies. Between all the different 
villages of the Carriers, there prevails a dif- 
ference of dialect, to such an extent, that 
they often give different names to the most 
common utensils. Every village has its par- 
ticular name, and its inhabitants are called 
after the name of the village, in the same 
manner as people in the civilized world re- 
ceive a name, from the city or country which 
they inhabit. 

Their clothing consists of a covering made 
of the skins of the beaver, badger, muskrat, 
cat or hare. The last they cut into strips, 


about one inch broad, and then weave or 
lace them together, until they become of a 
sufficient size to cover their bodies, and to 
reach to their knees. This garment they 
put over their shoulders, and tie about their 
waists. Instead of the above named skins, 
when they can obtain them from us, they 
greatly prefer, and make use of blankets, 
capots, or Canadian coats, cloth or moose 
and red deer skin. They seldom use either 
leggins or shoes, in the summer. At this 
season the men often go naked, without any 
thing to cover even that part of the body 
which civilized, and the most, also of savage 
people, think it necessary to conceal. Indeed 
they manifest as little sense of shame in re- 
gard to this subject, as the very brute crea- 
tion. The women, however, in addition to 
the robe of beaver or dressed moose skins, 
wear an apron, twelve or eighteen inches 
broad, which reaches nearly down to their 
knees. These aprons are made of a piece of 
deer skin, or of salmon skins, sewed together. 
Of the skin of this fish, they sometimes make 
leggins, shoes, bags, &c. but they are not 
durable ; and therefore they prefer deer skins 
and cloth, which are more pliable and soft. 
The roughness of salmon skins, renders them 
particularly unpleasant for aprons. 

A few of the male Carriers recently make 
use of the breech-cloth, made of cloth which 
they procure from us; but as evidence that 
no great sense of delicacy has induced them 


to wear it, you will see it one day at its 
proper place, the next, probably, about their 
heads, and the third around their necks ; and 
so on, repeatedly shifted from one place to 

Both sexes perforate their noses ; and from 
them, the men often suspend an ornament, 
consisting of a piece of an oyster shell, or a 
small piece of brass or copper. The women, 
particularly those who are young, run a 
wooden pin through their noses, upon each 
end of which they fix a kind of shell bead, 
which is about an inch and an half long, and 
nearly the size of the stem of a common clay 
pipe. These beads, they obtain from their 
neighbours, the At-e-nfis, who purchase them 
from another tribe, that is said to take them 
on the sea shore, where they are reported to 
be found in plenty. 

All the Indians in this part of the coun- 
try, are remarkably fond of these beads ; and 
in their dealings with each other, they consti- 
tute a kind of circulating medium, like the 
money of civilized countries. Twenty of these 
beads, they consider as equal in value to a 
beaver's skin. The elderly people neglect to 
ornament their heads, in the same manner as 
they do the rest of their persons, and gener- 
ally wear their hair short. But the younger 
people of both sexes, who feel more solicitous 
to make themselves agreeable to each other, 
wash and paint their faces, and let their hair 
grow long. The paint which they make use 


of, consists of vermilion, which they occasion- 
ally obtain from us ; or more commonly, of a 
red stone, pounded fine, of which there are 
two kinds. The powder of one kind of these 
stones, mixed with grease, and rubbed upon 
their faces, gives them a glittering appearance. 

The young women and girls wear a parcel 
of European beads, strung, together, and tied 
to a lock of hair, directly behind each ear. 
The men have a sort of collar of the shell 
beads already mentioned, which they wind 
about their heads, or throw around their 
necks. In the summer season, both sexes 
bathe often ; and this is the only time, when 
the married people wash themselves. One of 
their customs is sufficient to evince their ex- 
treme filthiness, and that is, whenever they 
blow their noses, they rub the mucus between 
both hands, until they become dry. 

Among the Carriers, it is customary for 
the giris, from the age of eight to eleven 
years, to wear a kind of veil or fringe over 
their eyes, made either of strung beads, or of 
narrow strips of deer skin, garnished with 
porcupine quills. While of this age, they are 
not allowed to eat any thing, excepting the 
driest food ; and especially they may not eat 
the head of any animal. If the}' should, their 
relations, as they imagine, would soon lan- 
guish and die. The women, also, during their 
pregnane}', and for some time after they are 
delivered, are restricted to the same kind of 


The lads, as soon as they come to the age 
of puberty, tie cords, wound with swan's 
down, around each leg, a little below the 
knee, which thej' wear during one year, and 
then, they are considered as men. 

The Carriers are unusually talkative; and 
when fifteen or twenty of them get into a 
house, they make an intolerable noise. Men, 
women and children, keep their tongues con- 
stantly in motion; and in controversy, he 
who has the strongest and clearest voice is 
of course heard the most easily, and, conse- 
quently, succeeds best in his argument. They 
take great delight, also, in singing, or hum- 
ming, or whistling a dull air. In short, 
whether at home or abroad, they can hardly 
be contented with their mouths shut. It was 
a long time before we could keep them still, 
when they came to our forts. And even yet> 
when they visit us, which is almost every 
day, during the whole year, they will often, 
inadvertently, break out into a song. But 
as soon as we check them, or they recollect 
of themselves what they are about, they stop 
short; for they are desirous of pleasing. 
The above trait in their character, certainly 
evinces much contentment with their condi- 
tion, and cheerfulness of spirit. 

Both sexes, of almost every age, are much 
addicted to play, or rather gambling. They 
pass the greater part of their time, especially 
in the winter season, and both days and 
nights, in some kind of game; and tlie men 


will often loose the last rag of clothes, which 
they have about them. But so far from 
being dejected by such ill fortune, they often 
appear to be proud of having lost their all ; 
and will even boast ingly say, that they are 
as naked as a dog, having not a rag with 
which to cover themselves. Should they, in 
such circumstances, meet with a friend, who 
should lend them something to wrap around 
their bodies, it is highly probable, that they 
would immediately go and plaj' away the 
borrowed garment. Or, if the borrower be- 
longed to another village, he would be likely 
to run off with it, and the owner would 
never hear of him afterward; for I never 
knew a Carrier to be gTateful for a favour be- 
stowed upon him. At play, they often loose 
a part of a garment, as the sleeves of a coat, 
which some of them now purchase from us, 
a whole, or the half of a leggin, which they 
will tear off, and deliver to the \\anner. They 
have been kno^\Ti to cut off a foot or more 
of their guns, when lost at play; for, like 
more gentlemanly gamblers, they consider 
such debts, as debts of honour. 

The Carriers are not so ingenious as their 
neighbours, the Nate-ote-tains and At-e-nns. 
The men, however, make canoes, which are 
clumsily -RTOUght, of the aspin tree, as well as 
of the bark of the spruce fir. The former, 
will carry from half a ton to a ton and a 
half burthen, while the latter, will carry 
from one to four grown persons. The women 


make excellent nets, of the inner bark of the 
willow tree, and of nettles, which answer 
better for taking small fish, than any which 
we obtain from Canada, made of twine or 

" The Carriers, in common with the other 
Indian tribes, before their country was visited 
by white people, made use of stones, instead 
of axes, and of bones, for knives; and with 
these, they constructed wooden dishes, and 
other vessels of the rind of the birch and 
pine trees, &c. Some of these vessels were 
used to cook their victuals in, and many of 
these people still make use of them ; for they 
are too poor to purchase brass or copper 
kettles from us. They have, also, other ves- 
sels, which are manufactured of the small 
roots or fibers of the cedar or pine tree, 
closely laced together, which serve them as 
buckets to put water in. I have seen one at 
Fraser's Lake, made of the same materials, 
that would hold sixty or seventy gallons, 
which they make use of when a feast is given 
to all the people of the village. All the ves- 
sels fabricated of roots, as well as the most 
of their bows and arrows, they obtain from 
their neighbours, above mentioned. 

The Carriers are remarkably- fond of their 
wives, and a few of them have three or four ; 
but polygamy is not general among them. 
The men do the most of the drudgery about 
the house, such as cutting and drawing fire 
wood, and bringing water. In the winter 


months, they drink but little water; but to 
quench their thirst, they eat half melted 
snow, which they generally keep on the top 
of a stick, stuck into the gTOund, before the 

As the Carriers are fond of their wives, 
they are, as naturally might be supposed, 
very jealous of them ; but to their daughters, 
they allow every liberty, for the purpose, as 
they say, of keeping the young men from 
intercourse with the married women. As the 
young women may thus bestow their favours 
on whom, and as often as they please, with- 
out the least censure from their parents, or 
reproach to their character, it might nat- 
urally be expected that they would be, as 
I am informed they actuall}^ are, very free 
with their persons. — In the following par- 
ticular, the Carriers differ from all the other 
Indian tribes, with whom I have been ac- 
quainted. Among other tribes, the father 
or mother in law, will never, excepting when 
drunk, speak to a son or daughter in law ; 
but the Carriers make no distinction, in this 

The Carriers reside a part of the year in 
villages, built at convenient places for taking 
and drying salmon, as they come up the 
rivers. These fish they take in abundance, 
with little labour ; and they constitute their 
principal food, during the whole year. They 
are not very palatable when eaten alone; 
but with vegetables, they are pleasant food. 


The Natives, however, are too slothful to 
raise vegetables, and use none, excepting a 
few which they obtain from us. 

Toward the middle of April, and some- 
times sooner, thej' leave their villages, to go 
and pass about two months at the small 
lakes, from which, at that season, they take 
white fish, trout, carp, &c. in considerable 
numbers. But when these begin to fail, they 
return to their villages, and subsist on the 
small fish, which they dried when at the lakes, 
or on salmon, should they have been so 
provident as to have kept any until that 
late season ; or they eat herbs, the inner 
bark or sap of the cypress tree, berries, &c. 
At this season, few fish of any kind, are to be 
taken out of the lakes or rivers of New Cale- 
donia. In this manner the Natives barely 
subsist, until about the middle of August, 
when salmon again begin to make their ap- 
pearance, in all the rivers of any consider- 
able magnitude ; and they have them at most 
of their villages in plenty, until the latter end 
of September, or the beginning of October. 
For about a month, the}'- come up in crowds ; 
and the noses of some of them are either 
worn or rotten off, and the eyes of others 
have perished in their heads ; and j^et, in this 
maimed condition, they are surprisingly alert, 
in coming up the rapids. These maimed 
fishes are generally at the head of large 
bands, on account of which, the Natives 
call them Mi-u-ties, or Chiefs. The Indians 


say that they have suffered these disasters, 
by falling back among the stones, when com- 
ing up difficult places in the rapids which 
they pass. 

The Carriers take salmon in the following 
manner. All the Indians of the village assist 
in making a dam across the river, in which 
they occasionally leave places, to insert their 
baskets or nets of wicker work. These bas- 
kets are generally from fifteen to eighteen feet 
in length, and from twelve to fifteen feet in 
circumference. The end at which the salmon 
enter, is made with twigs, in the form of the 
entrance of a wire mouse trap. When four 
or five hundred salmon have entered this 
basket, they either take it to the shore to 
empty out the fish; or they take them out 
at a door in the top, and transport them to the 
shore in their large wooden canoes, which are 
convenient for this purpose. When the salmon 
are thrown upon the beach, the women take 
out their entrails, and hang them by their 
tails on poles, in the open air. After remain- 
ing in this situation for a day or two, they 
take them down and cut them thinner, and 
then leave them to hang for about a month 
in the open air, when they will have become 
entirely dr^^ . They are then put into their 
store houses, which are built on four posts, 
about ten feet from the ground, to prevent 
animals from destroying them; and pro- 
vided they are preserved dry, they will re- 
main good for several years. 


The Carriers take beavers in nets, made 
of thongs of cariboo skins, or in baskets 
made of yomig C3'press stadles; and some- 
times they shoot them with bows and arrows, 
or guns, or take them in steel traps, which 
we sell to them, and of which they begin to 
understand the value. Cats, martins, fishers, 
foxes, minks, «S;c. they take in a kind of 
spring trap, which consists of a large piece 
of wood, which these animals, by nibbling 
at the bait, cause to fall upon and crush 
them. Bears, swans and hares they gener- 
ally take in snares, and the cat, also, they 
sometimes take in this manner. They hunt 
the beaver and bear, more for the sake of 
their flesh, than to obtain the skins; for 
it is with the meat of these animals that 
they make their feasts, in remembrance of 
their deceased relatives. 

At such festivals, they cut up as many 
dressed moose and red deer skins as they 
can well procure, into slips, about eighteen 
inches long, and twelve inches broad, and 
distribute them among their friends and 
relatives. And they firndy believe, that 
these ceremonies must be performed, before 
their departed relative can be at rest, in the 
place whither he has gone, which they think 
to be the interiour of the earth, where they 
expect that they shall all at length be 

The Carriers have little that can be denom- 
inated civil government, in the regulation 


of their concerns. There are some persons 
among them, who are called Mi-u-ties or 
Chiefs, and for whom they appear to have 
a little more respect than for the others; 
but these chiefs have not much authority or 
influence over the rest of the community. 
Any one is dubbed a Mi-u-ty, who is able and 
willing, occasionally, to provide a feast, for 
the people of his village. An Indian, how- 
ever, who has killed another, or been guilty 
of some other bad action, finds the house or 
tent of the chief a safe retreat, so long as he 
is allowed to remain there. But as soon as 
he leaves it, the Chief can afford the criminal 
no more protection, than any other person of 
the village can, unless he lets him have one 
of his garments. This garment of the Chief, 
will protect a malefactor from harm, while 
he wears it ; for no person would attack 
him, while clothed with this safe guard, 
sooner than he would attack the chief him- 
self; and if he should, the chief would revenge 
the insult, in the same manner as if it were 
offered directly to himself. The revenge which 
the Chief, in this case, would take, would be 
to destroy the life of the offending person, 
or that of some of his near relations, or the 
life of one of the same tribe, if he should 
happen to be a stranger. 

Wlien two or more persons disagree at 
play, as is frequently the case, or contend 
on any other account, the chief, or some 
respectable and elderly man, will step in 


between the two wranglers, and settle the 
dispute, generally without their coming to 

The people of every village have a certain 
extent of country, which they consider their 
own, and in which they may hunt and fish; 
but they may not transcend these bounds, 
without purchasing the privilege of those 
who claim the land. Mountains and rivers 
serve them as boundaries, and they are not 
often broken over. 

The people of one village do not often visit 
those of another, as there are generally mis- 
understandings existing between them, which 
are occasioned by murders, and at times 
by the hunting of the people of one village, 
in a clandestine manner, on the territories 
of their neighbours. By one cause or another, 
they are kept in a perpetual broil. They 
say however, that murders do not occur so 
frequently among them as they did before 
they were visited by the white people. 

The Carriers are the most ignorant people 
among whom I have ever been. They appear 
to have only a very confused and limited 
idea of the existence of a Supreme Being, 
the maker and governour of the world, or 
of the devil or any evil spirit; and they, 
therefore, neither worship the former nor fear 
the latter. But they believe, as it has been 
already observed, in the immortality of the 
soul, and think when it leaves its present 
body, it goes into the bowels of the earth, 


where, they suppose it will be more happy 
than when an inhabitant of its surface. IJut 
they seem to have no idea of future rewards 
or punishments, in consequence of anj' thing 
which they may have done, while resident 
on earth. And whether the soul will be fur- 
nished with another body, when it leaves 
that which it animated on earth, they say 
they cannot tell, it being, as they add, be- 
yond their comprehension. They firmly be- 
lieve, however, that a departed soul can, if it 
pleases, come back to the earth, in a human 
shape or body, in order to see his friends, 
who are still alive. Therefore, as they 
are about to set fire to the pile of wood, 
on which a corpse is laid, a relation of the 
deceased person stands at his feet, and asks 
him if he will ever come back among them. 
Then the priest or magician, with a grave 
countenance, stands at the head of the corpse, 
and looks through both his hands on its 
naked breast, and then raises them toward 
heaven, and blows through them, as they 
say, the soul of the deceased, that it may 
go and find, and enter into a relative. Or, 
if any relative is present, the priest will hold 
his hands on the head of this person, and 
blow through them, that the spirit of the 
deceased may enter into him or her; and 
then, as they affirm, the first child which 
this person has, will possess the soul of the 
deceased person. 

When the Carriers are severely sick, they 


often think that they shall not recover, un- 
less they divulge to a priest or magician, 
every crime which they may have committed, 
wiiich has hitherto been kept secret. In such 
a case, they will make a full confession, and 
then they expect that their lives will be 
spared, for a time longer. But should they 
keep back a single crime, they as fully believe 
that they shall suffer almost instant death. 
The crimes which they most frequently con- 
fess, discover something of their moral char- 
acter, and therefore deserve to be mentioned. 
A man will often acknowledge that he has 
had a criminal and incestuous connexion with 
his own daughter or sister, or a criminal inter- 
course with a bitch ! and a woman will con- 
fess, that she has had the same infamous con- 
nexion with her own relations, or with a dog ! 
Murder is not considered by the Carriers 
as a crime of great magnitude; and, there- 
fore, it makes no part of their acknowledg- 
ments, in their confessions to the priests or 
Jiagicians. If a murder be committed on a 
|erson belonging to a tribe with whom they 
are at enmity, they regard it as a brave and 
noble action. Should one Indian kill another, 
belonging to the same village with himself, 
the murderer is considered as a person void 
of sense; and he must quit his village and 
remain away, until he can pay the relations 
of the deceased for the murder; and even 
after this has been done, it often occasions 
quarrels, between the parties. 


The Carriers are so very credulous, and 
have so exalted an opinion of us, that they 
firmly believe, though I have often assured 
them of the contrary, that any of the 
Traders or Chiefs, as they call us, can, at 
pleasure, make it fair or foul weather. And 
even yet when.they are preparing to set out 
on an excursion, they will come and offer to 
pay us, provided we will make or allow it 
to be fair weather, during their absence 
from their homes. They often inquire of us 
whether salmon, that year, will be in plenty 
in their rivers. They also think, that by 
merely looking into our books, we can cause 
a sick person to recover, let the distance 
which he may be from us be ever so great. 
In short, they look upon those who can 
read and write, as a kind of supernatural 
beings, who know all that is past, and who 
can see into futurity. 

For a considerable time after we had been 
among them, they were fully of the opinion, 
that the white people had neither fathers nor 
mothers ; but came into the world in a super- 
natural way, or were placed on the earth 
by the sun or moon. 

As a further specimen of their limited 
conceptions, they now firmly believe that a 
watch is the heart of the sun, because it is 
ever in motion, as they say, like that great 
body of light. They add further, that unless 
a watch and the sun were nearly related, it 
would be impossible for the watch, consider- 


ing the distance which there is between them, 
to point out so precisely the minute when 
the sun is to make its appearance and to 
leave us/ In short, they say that the one 
must know perfectly well what the other is 
about, and that there must be the same con- 
nexion between tliem, as between the mem- 
bers of the human body. 

The Carriers give the following account 
of a tradition, which they believe, respecting 
the formation of the earth, and the general 
destruction of mankind, in an early period 
of the world. Water at first overspread the 
face of the world, which is a plain surface. 
At the top of the water, a muskrat was 
swimming about, in different directions. At 
length he concluded to dive to the bottom, to 
see what he could find, on which to subsist ; 
but he found nothing but mud, a little of 
which he brought in his mouth, and placed 
it on the surface of the water, where it re- 
mained. He then went for more mud, and 
placed it with that already brought up ; and 
thus he continued his operations, until he 
had formed a considerable hillock. This 
land increased by degrees, until it overspread 
a large part of the world, which assumed 
at length its present form. The earth, in 
process of time, became peopled in every 
part, and remained in this condition for 
many years. Afterwards a fire run over it all, 
and destroyed every human being, excepting 
one man and one woman. They saved them- 


selves by going into a deep cave, in a large 
mountain, where they remained for sev'eral 
days, until the fire was extinguished. They 
then came forth from their hiding place ; and 
from these two persons, the whole earth has 
been peopled. 

Besides the feasts, made for their dead, 
which have been described in my Journal, 
the Carriers give others, merely to enter- 
tain their guests, who are frequently all the 
people of a village, as well as a few who 
belong to a neighbouring village. The follow- 
ing ceremonies attend such festivals. The 
person who makes the entertainment, who is 
always a Chief, boils or roasts several whole 
beavers ; and as soon as his guests are seated 
around a fire, which is in the centre of his 
house, he takes up a whole beaver,, and with 
a raised voice, relates how and where he 
killed it, that all present may know that it 
came from his own land. After that neces- 
sary explanation is over, he steps forward, 
and presents the tail end to the most re- 
spectable person of the house, and stands 
holding the animal with both hands until 
this person has eaten what he chooses. The 
chief then passes on with his beaver to the 
second person, who eats as the first had 
done ; and then to a third ; and so on, until 
he has presented it to thewholecircle. Should 
any part now remain, it is laid down near 
the centre of the house; and another whole 
beaver is taken up, which is served round 


in the same manner as the first. And thus 
the chief continues to do, until his guests 
have tasted of every beaver, which he had 
prepared for the feast. The remaining frag- 
ments of the beavers, are now cut up into 
smaller pieces, and distributed among the 
women and children, or put into dishes, 
which the men have before them, and which 
they always bring with them, when they 
attend upon a feast. The women then come 
in with large dishes full of berries, and each 
puts a ladle full into every dish of the men. 
When they have eaten what they choose of 
the berries, ( for the Indians never urge their 
guests to eat more than they please) both 
men and women join, in singing several 
songs. The airs of many of these songs, 
which have been composed and set to musick, 
by their poets, expressly for the occasion, 
greatly resemble those which I have heard 
sung, in Roman Catholic churches. After 
singing is concluded, each guest rises, with 
his dish and whatever it contains, and returns 
to his own dwelling, and thus the festival 
ends. At these feasts, there are frequently 
Indians, who will drink at least a quart of 
melted bear's oil, merely to show how much 
they can drink. 

At some of their festivals, the men and 
women join in a dance. Their musick on 
these occasions, consists of the singing of 
one person or more, accompanied b}- the 
shaking of the she-she-qui, which is, ordinarf- 


ly, a covered dish, with a handle ; but some- 
times it is curiously made in the form of a 
bird, and within it, are either gjavel stones 
or shot. Others beat on a drum, with but 
one head; and these are all the musical in- 
struments, if they can with propriety be so 
denominated, which I have ever seen among 
them. When they dance, they paint their 
faces, and put swan's down on their heads, 
and while they are dancing, others are al- 
most continually blowing more through both 
their hands, on the dancers. They have 
not many different kinds of dancing; but 
they have a great variety of songs, the airs 
of which are pleasant to the ear when heard 
at some distance from the singers, who gener- 
ally have strong voices. All Indians have 
accurate ears ; and, therefore, they keep exact 
time when they dance or sing. 

The Carriers are almost entirely ignorant 
of medicine, not having any knowledge of 
the virtue which is found in roots and herbs, 
when administered to the sick. When one of 
them is sick, they call in the priest or doctor, 
for the same person discharges the functions 
of both; and he is joined by several other 
persons in singing a very melancholy air, 
over the sick person, which they think serves 
greatly to mitigate his pain, and often re- 
stores him to perfect health. Before the 
doctor will afford his assistance, in doing 
which he makes many jestures, and goes 
through much ceremony, he must receive a' 


present. But should his patient die under 
his care, he must restore to the relations of 
the deceased, the present which he had re- 
ceived. The Carriers are the only Indians 
with whom I have been acquainted, who 
make no use of roots and herbs, and the 
bark of certain trees, with the sick. They, 
however, place great confidence in our medi- 

During the winter months many of the 
Carriers make their dwellings in the earth, 
in the following manner. They dig a hole 
in the ground to the depth of about two 
feet, from the opposite sides of which, they 
erect two considerable sticks, to support 
a ridge-pole. They then lay poles from the 
margin of the hole to the ridge-pole, until 
they have completely enclosed the dwelling, 
excepting a hole which is left near the top, 
which serves the double purpose of a door 
by which they enter, and leave the hut, upon 
an upright post, in which, notches are cut ; 
and an opening for the smoke to pass off. 
The poles are made tight, by stopping the 
interstices with hay, or by covering them 
with bark; and dirt is then throwTi over 
them, to a considerable thickness. These 
huts are far from being healthy; but they 
are commodious for people who are clad as 
poorly, as are most of the Carriers. 

The Indians on the west side of the Rocky 
Mountain, erect buildings, in which they 
deposit the ashes and bones of their dead. 


The side posts of these structures, are about 
six feet high; a roof, covered with bark, is 
erected upon these posts, in the form of the 
roofs of liouses in the civilized part of the 
world; and around their sides, are broad 
boards, made bj' splitting trees, which they 
hew, and then smooth over with a crooked 
knife. On these boards, which are about an 
inch thick, thej paint images to represent 
the sun, moon, stars and different kinds of 
animals. Within these buildings, the remains 
of the dead are contained in boxes, of dif- 
ferent dimensions, which in some instances, 
stand on the top of one upright post, and 
in other cases, are supported by four. The 
paints which they use, in describing the 
figures on these buildings, consist of black 
and red stones, which they grind fine, and 
of a yellow and a red earth. These sub- 
stances, they mix with glue, which they 
obtain by boiling the feet of the buffaloe, 
or from the inside of sturgeon, where these 
fish are in plenty. They put on their paints 
with a brush, made of the hair which they 
take from the leg of the moose. 

Among the Carriers, there are some con- 
jurors, who whenever they please, will vomit 
blood, or swallow a small toad, alive. By 
doing the latter, however, they are made 
sick, for three or four days; and yet they 
are ever ready to do it, for a mere trifling 

Among the Indians who inhabit New 


Caledonia, the Sicannies deserve to be men- 
tioned. They are a small part of a tribe 
who, but a few years since, came from the 
east side of the Rocky Mountain. They now 
bring the produce of their hunts to McLeod's 
Lake. The winter months, however, a greater 
part of them pass among their relations, 
on the east side of the Mountain, where 
they subsist on buffaloe, moose and red 
deer. Notwithstanding they are tolerable 
hunters, they would not be able to kill a 
sufficiency of beavers to serve themselves 
and families, during the winter, where the 
snow is so deep, as it generally is in New 

The people who are now called Si-can-nies, 
I suspect, at no distant period, belonged 
to the tribe, called Beaver Indians, who 
inhabit the lower part of Peace River; for 
they differ but little from them in dialect, 
manners, customs, &c. Some misunderstand- 
ing between the Sicannies and the rest of the 
tribe to which they formerly belonged, prob- 
ably drove them from place to place, up 
Peace River, until they were, at length, 
obliged to cross the Rocky Mountain. The 
Sicannies, are more brave, and better armed 
than the Carriers, who have, as yet, but 
few fire arms; and it is probable that the 
former will make encroachments upon the 
latter. The Sicannies, however, are a wretch- 
ed people; for they suffer greatly for the 
want of food, during nearly one fourth part 


of the year, when they barely support life, 
by means of a few unpalatable roots. Yet 
they are remarkably fond of the country, 
where they now are; and frequently inter- 
marry with the Carriers, and pass a part 
of their time with them, at their villages. 
They have, also, adopted many of the cus- 
toms of the Carriers, one of which is, to 
burn their dead ; whereas, while they resided 
on the other side of the Mountain, they 
were accustomed to bury them in the earth. 
The Sicannies are not an ingenious people; 
and I know of nothing which they manu- 
facture, excepting a few ill "RTOUght bows 
and arrows, wooden dishes, &c. 

There is a tribe of Indians not far from 
the Columbia River, who are called Flat- 
Heads. By fixing boards upon the heads 
of their children, they compress them in such 
a manner as to cause them to assume the 
form of a wedge. Another tribe in New 
Caledonia, denominated Nate-ote-tains, pierce 
a hole through the under lips of their daugh- 
ters, into which they insert a piece of wood, 
in the shape of the wheel of a pulley; and 
as the girls grow up, this wheel is enlarged, 
so that a woman of thirty years of age, 
will have one nearly as large as a dollar. 
This they consider, adds much to their beauty ; 
but these wheels are certainly very incon- 
venient, and to us, they appear very un- 
couth and disagreeable. 






I have been acquainted with fifteen dif- 
ferent tribes of Indians, which are the Sau- 
teux, Crees, Assiniboins, Rapid Indians, 
Black feet Indians, Blood Indians, Sursees, 
Cautonies, Muskagoes, Chipeways, Beaver In- 
dians, Sicannies, Ta-cullies, Atenas and Nate- 
ote-tains. The parts of the country, which 
they severally inhabit, have already been 
noticed, in my Journal. 

The tribes that are the most enlightened, 
and that have advanced the farthest toward 
a state of civilization, are the Sauteux or 
Chipeways, the Muskagoes and the Crees, 
or Knisteneux, as thej have been sometimes 
denominated. These tribes have a greater 
knowledge than the other Indians, of the 
medicinal qualities of the bark of trees, and 
of herbs, roots, &c. and their medical skill, 
enables them heavily to tax the other tribes. 
Indeed, their medicines, with their skill in 
regard to their application, form considerable 
articles of commerce with their neighbours. 
Sometimes, for a handsome compensation, 
they will instruct a person where to procure 


ingredients, and how to prepare them as 
medicines, to be used in particular cases. 
It is very probable, however, that the In- 
dian doctors, like some apothecaries in the 
civilized world, sell some medicines, of little 
or no value. It is also well known to those 
acquainted with the Indians, that their 
physicians frequently effect cures with their 
roots, herbs, &c. in cases, which would baffle 
the skill and the drugs, of a scientifick phy- 

The white people have been among the 
above mentioned tribes, for about one hun- 
dred and fifty years. To this circumstance 
it is probably to be attributed, that the 
knowledge of these Indians is more extensive, 
than that of the other tribes. But I very 
much question whether they have improved 
in their character or condition, by their 
acquaintance with civilized people. In their 
savage state, they were contented with the 
mere necessaries of life, which they could 
procure, with considerable ease; but now 
they have many artificial wants, created by 
the luxuries which we have introduced among 
them; and as they find it difficult to obtain 
these luxuries, they have become, to a degree, 
discontented with their condition, and prac- 
tise fraud in their dealings. A half civilized 
Indian is more savage, .than one in his orig- 
inal state. The latter has some sense of 
honour, while the former has none. I have 
always experienced the greatest hospitality 


and kindness among those Indians, who 
have had the least intercourse with white 
people. They readily discover and adopt 
our evil practices ; but they are not as quick 
to discern, and as ready to follow the few 
good examples, which we set before them. 

The Indians in general, are subject to 
few diseases. The venereal complaint is 
common to all the tribes of the north ; many 
persons among them, die of a consumption; 
fevers, also, frequently attack them ; and 
they are likewise troubled w4th pains in their 
heads, breasts and joints. Many of them, 
and especially the women, are subject to 
fits. For a relief, in nearly all of their dis- 
eases, they resort to their grand remedy, 

There is no material difference in the size, 
features and complexion of the different 
tribes, with whom I have been acquainted. 
The Sauteux, Crees and Assiniboins, to- 
gether with the other Indians who inhabit 
the prairies, are, however, the fairest and 
most cleanly. The Sauteux women differ 
from all others, by turning their toes very 
much inwards, in walking. The Assiniboins, 
of both sexes, are the best made, and walk 
the most erect, of any tribe that I have 
ever seen. Fools and disfigured persons, are 
seldom to be met with among the Indians; 
the reason of which, I believe to be, that 
their mothers put them to death as soon 
as they discover their unhappy condition. 


All Indian children, when young, are laced 
in a kind of bag. This bag is made of a 
piece of leather, about two feet square, by 
drawing a string, inserted in the lower end, 
and lacing the two sides together. Some 
moss is placed in the bottom of this bag; 
the child is then laid into it, and moss is 
inserted between its legs. The bag is then 
laced the fore side of the child as high as 
its neck. This bag is laid upon a board, to 
which it is fastened by means of a strip of 
leather, passing several times round both 
the board and the bag. At the top of this 
board, a bow passes round from one side 
to the other, perpendicular to its surface, 
on which the Indians fasten small bells, 
which they obtain from us, or the claws 
of animals, by way of ornament, and which 
rattle, when the child is carried by its mother^ 
suspended from her shoulders, bj' means of a 
cord or belt fastened to the board. From 
two points in this bow, equally distant from 
the board, two strips of leather, worked 
with porcupine quills, are suspended, at the 
ends of which, tassels, composed of moose 
hair, are fixed. This bag is commonly orna- 
mented, in different parts, with porcupine 
quills. The women who are particular in 
keeping their children clean, shift the moss 
which is put into these bags, several times 
in a day; but others do it not more than 
twice. They often fix conductors so that 
their male children never wet the moss. The 


Carrier women will nurse their children, 
when thus suspended at their backs, either 
by throwing their breasts over their shoul- 
ders or under their arms. Their breasts are 
larger and longer than those of the other 
tribes ; but I am unable to assign any cause 
for this peculiarity. 

The dress of the Indians is simple and 
convenient. They wear tight leggins, each 
of which is composed of a single piece of 
leather or cloth, sewed up with a single 
seam, about an inch from the edge, which 
projects upon the outside. These garments 
reach from the ancle nearly to the hip. They 
have a strip of cloth or leather, called assi- 
an, about a foot wide, and five feet long, 
which passes between the legs, and over a 
thong tied round the waist, so that the 
ends hang down, behind and before. The 
body is covered with a shirt, reaching down 
to the thighs, which is belted with a broad 
piece of parchment, fastened together behind. 
They wear a cap upon the head, composed 
of a single piece of fur sewed up, or of the 
skin of a small animal of a suitable size, 
which is cut off at both ends, and sewed up 
at the top; and at some times it is only 
cut off at the end towards the head, while 
the tail is left at the top, to hang down 
behind, by way of ornament. They have, 
also, at the proper season, the tail of a 
buffaloe, fastened to one of their wrists, 

which they use in keeping off flies. A sort 


of robe or blanket is occasionally worn over 
the rest of their dress. They also wear shoes 
and mittens. The articles of their clothing 
by day, constitute their covering when they 
lie down at night. The materials of which 
their clothing is composed vary with the 
season, consisting of dressed moose skins, 
beaver prepared with the fur, or European 
woollens. The leather, they frequently paint 
or work with porcupine quills, with no small 
degree of taste. The skirts of their shirts, 
and the seams of their leggins, are often 
ornamented with fringe and tassels, com- 
posed of the hair of the moose, which is 
naturally white, but which they die yellow 
and red. Their shoes and mittens have, 
likewise, an appropriate decoration. At a 
feast or dance, they wear the feathers of the 
swan, eagle and other birds; and they oc- 
casionally wind a string of the teeth, horns 
and claws of different animals, around their 
head or neck. They all rub greese upon their 
hair, which gives it a smooth and glossy 

It belongs to the women to make up the 
articles of clothing. In sewing leather, in- 
stead of thread, they make use of the sinews 
of animals. When this substance is some 
moistened, they separate a fibre, and by 
running their finger along between it and 
the main sinew, they part it to a sufficient 
length. The sinews of the cariboo may be 
made as fine and even, as fine thread. These 


.fibres, when thus separated, they twist at 
one end between their fingers, which gives 
them a sharp stiff point, when they are dry. 
They use awls, which they obtain from us, 
or an instrument of bone which they con- 
struct themselves, in sewing. The men paint 
their faces and ornament their persons, with 
no less care than the women; and the mar- 
ried women, while they neglect not their 
own persons, are still more attentive to the 
appearance of their husbands. The young 
women often make some ornamental articles, 
particularly garters, neatly worked with 
porcupine quills and present them to their 
favourites ; and the standing of a young 
male Carrier among the young females may 
often be determined by the number of garters 
which he wears. 

The female dress is made of the same 
materials as that of the men, but differently 
constructed and arranged. Their shoes are 
without ornament ; their leggins are gartered 
beneath the knee; the shirt or coat,, which 
is so long as to reach the middle of the leg. 
is tied at the neck, is fringed around the 
bottom, and fancifully painted, as high as 
the knee. Being very loose, it is girded 
around the waist with a stiff belt, ornamented 
with tassels, and fastened behind. The 
arras are covered aa low as the wrists with 
sleeves, which are not connected with the 
body garment. These sleeves are sewed up, 
as far as the bend of the arm, having the 


seam the under side; and extend to the 
shoulders, becoming broader toward the 
upper end, so that the corners hang down 
as low as the waist. They are connected 
together, and kept on, by a cord, extending 
from one to the other, across the shoulders. 
The cap, when they have one, consists of a 
piece of cloth, about two feet square, doubled, 
and sewed up at one end, which forms an 
enclosure for the head; and it is tied under 
the chin. The bottom of it falls down the 
back, like a cape, and in the centre, is tied 
to the belt. This cap is fancifully garnished 
with ribbon, beads or porcupine quills. The 
upper garment, is a robe or garment, similar 
to that worn by the men. Their hair is 
parted on the top of the head, and tied 
behind ; or, at some times, it is fastened 
in large knots over the ears, and covered 
with beads of various colours. They prefer 
European clothes, when they can obtain 
them, to the skins, furnished by their own 
country. For ornaments they use bracelets, 
composed of brass, bone or horn ; and rings, 
and similar trinkets. Some of the women 
tattoo a line, which is sometimes double, 
from the middle of the under lip, to the 
center of the chin ; and two other lines, ex- 
tending from the corners of the mouth, some- 
what diverging from the other line, down 
the sides of the chin. 

The greater part of the Indians, who make 
use of European cloths for their dress, frfe- 


quentl}^ cleanse them, by washing them in 
cold water, without soap. They do not 
understand the art of making soap; and if 
they did, the process is so laborious, that 
they would readily forego the use of this 
article, which tliey consider of ver3^ little 
value. When their clothing consists of leather, 
they occasionally cleanse it, by rubbing it 
over with a ball of white earth. This earth, 
which is the same which we use for white 
washing, they moisten, and mould into balls, 
and thus preserve it for use. 

The Indians who subsist principally on 
fish, and who kill but few large animals, 
cover their habitations with some kind of 
bark, or with mats made of rushes. But 
those who subsist on the buffaloe, moose 
and red deer, dress their skins, and cover 
their tents with them, as described in my 
Journal. When they are in their tents they 
sit or lie down on buffaloe or bear skins, 
which constitute, also, their beds ; and when 
in bed, they cover themselves with a buffaloe 
skin, dressed with the hair on, or with a 
blanket. But many of the Carriers, have 
nothing to lie on, excepting the branches 
of the spruce fir tree, with little or nothing 
with which to cover themselves; and their 
huts constitute but a poor shelter. To 
keep themselves from freezing, in cold winter 
nights, therefore, they are under the necessity 
of keeping up a constant fire, to which they 
are compelled to turn their sides, alternately ; 


and they are, at such times, able to procure 
but little sleep. Indeed, almost any other 
people, in the same condition, would freeze 
to death. But as they have always been 
accustomed to such a mode of living, they 
seem not at all aware of the misery of their 

The Sauteux, Muscagoes, many of the 
Chipewyans and some of the Crees, in short 
all the Indians who live about large lakes, 
subsist principally on fish, which they take 
with hooks and lines, or in nets. Their 
hooks they frequently obtain from us; and 
when this is impracticable, they make them, 
by inserting a piece of bone obliquely into 
a piece of wood, and reducing the upper 
end of the bone to a point. Their lines are 
either single thongs of leather, tied together, 
or they are braided of the bark of the willow. 
The Assiniboins, Rapid Indians, Black feet 
Indians and those Crees who remain in the 
strong thick woods, or on the large plains, 
live upon the flesh of the buffaloe, moose" 
red deer, antelope, bear, &c. which they 
either boil or roast. Those of them who 
can obtain brass or copper or tin kettles 
from us, use them for boiling their food; 
and hang them over the fire. Those who 
cannot obtain such kettles, use those which 
are made of bark. Although water might 
be made to boil in these bark kettles over 
the fire, yet they would' not be durable; 
and therefore, this operation is more com- 


moiily performed, by throwing into them, 
heated stones. Those Indians, however, 
who liave only bark kettles, generally roast 
their meat. This they do, by fixing one end 
of a stick, that is sharpened at both ends, 
into the ground, at a little distance from 
the fire, with its top, on which the meat 
is fixed, inclining towards the fire. On this 
stick, the meat is occasionally turned, when 
one part becomes suflflciently roasted. 

The Indians, in general, like to have their 
food, whether boiled or roasted, thoroughly 
done; but those who inhabit the plains, 
frequently make their meals without the 
aid of fire, of particular parts of the entrails 
of the buffaloe, which I have, also, eaten 
raw, and have found to be very palatable. 
When there is no water to be found, they 
at times kill a buffaloe, and drink his blood, 
or the water wliich they find in his paunch. 
The paunch of a male buffaloe, when well 
cooked, is very delicious food. The Natives 
scarcely ever wash it ; but boil it with much 
of its dung, adhering to it ; and even then, 
the broth has an excellent taste, to those 
who can forget, or from habit pay no regard 
to the filth, which settles, to the thickness 
of two fingers, at the bottom of the kettle. 
Many consider a broth, made by means of 
the dung of the cariboo and the hare to be 
a dainty dish. 

The Chipewyans can never patiently see a 
fish without gouging out its eyes, and eating 


them in a raw state; and they say, that 
they are delicious. They, also, often make 
their meals upon raw fish or meat, that is 
frozen ; and ajipear to relish it fully as well, 
as when cooked. — The Carriers, when they 
take fish that have roes in them, squeeze 
them, with their thumb and finger, through 
their natural outlet, into their mouths, 
and swallow them down, with avidity. They 
also bury in the earth large boxes, filled 
with the roes of salmon, where they are 
suffered to remain, until they are a little 
putrified, when they take them out, and 
eat them, either cooked or raw; and they 
appear to relish them well, though they 
fill the air with a terrible stench, for a con- 
siderable distance round. A person who eats 
this food, and rubs salmon oil on his hands, 
can be smelt in warm weather, to the dis- 
tance of nearly a quarter of a mile. 

The natives in a part of the country 
called Xipigon, as well as in some other 
parts of the country, are frequently obliged, 
by necessity, to subsist on a kind of moss, 
which they find adhering to the rocks, and 
which they denominate As-se-ne Wa-quon-uck, 
that is, eggs of the rock. This moss when 
boiled with pimican, &c. dissolves into a 
glutinous substance, and is very palatable; 
but when cooked in water only, it is far 
otherwise, as it then has an unpleasant, 
bitter taste. There is some nourishment 
in it; and it has saved the life of many of 


the IndiaiiH, as well as of some of our voy- 

On the Columbia River, there is a people 
who subsist, during the greater part of the 
summer, on nothing but roots, and a kind 
of bread, if it may be so called, made of the 
mossy stuff, which grows on the spruce fir 
tree, and which resembles the cobwebs, spun 
by spiders. This substance contains a little 
nourishment. They gather it from the trees, 
and lay it in a heap, on which they sprinkle 
a little water, and then leave it, for some 
time, to ferment. After that, they roll it 
up into balls, as large as a man's head, 
and bake them in ovens, well heated, which 
are constructed in the earth. After having 
been baked about an hour, they are taken 
out for use. This substance is not very 
palatable ; and it contains but little nourish- 
ment. It will, however, barely support life, 
for a considerable time. 

The Indians frequently eat the flesh of 
the dog; and our Canadian voyagers are 
as fond of it, as of any other meat. I have 
frequently eaten of them myself; and have 
found them as palatable as a young pig, 
and much of the same flavour. These dogs 
are small ; and in shape, very much resemble 
the wolf. The large dogs are of a different 
breed, and their flesh always has a rank 
taste; but this is never the case with the 
small kind. 

Perhaps I cannot more properly, than 


in this connexion, state, that all the Indians, 
when they look in each other's heads, and 
find lice, of which they have a plenty, both 
there and on their bodies, crush them be- 
tween their teeth, and frequently swallow 
them. The reason which they give for this 
nauseous custom is, that, as the lice have 
first bitten them, they are only retaliating 
the injury upon them. 

As the Indians use no salt in the pres- 
ervation of their meat, the lean part is 
cut into thin slices, and hung up in their 
tents, and dried in the smoke, and the fat 
is melted down; and in this situation, it 
will keep for years. They make marrow 
fat, by cutting the joints of the bones, which 
they boil for a considerable time, and then 
skim off the top, which is excellent to eat 
with their dried meat. They find a root in 
the plains, that is nearly a foot long, and 
two or three inches in circumference, which 
is shaped like a carrot, and tastes like a 
turnip, which they pound fine, and then 
dry it in the sun. This, when boiled in fat 
broth, is one of their most dainty dishes, 
at their feasts. The ordinary drink of the 
Indians is the broth of flesh or fish, or only 

The Indians on the east side of the Rocky 
Mountain, pound choke cherries fine, and 
dry them in the sun, which are palatable, 
either eaten alone, or boiled in broth. They 
have also a small berry, about the size of 


a common currant, shaped like an egg, which 
I have called, in my Journal, shad berries, 
as I have heard them so denominated in New 
England, which they dry in the sun, and 
either boil them in broth, or mix them with 
pounded meat and fat, in making; pimican. 
But the Carriers prepare these berries in a 
different manner, in order to preserve them. 
They make a kind of tub, which will con- 
tain twenty or thirty gallons, of the bark 
of the spruce fir tree. Into the bottom of 
this tub they put about a peck of these 
berries, and upon the top of them stones, 
that are nearly red hot ; they then put an- 
other layer of berries, and upon these, a 
layer of stones, and so on until the tub is 
full. They then cover it up, and let it re- 
main in that situation for about five or 
six hours, when they will have become per- 
fectly cooked. They are then taken out, 
and crushed between the hands, and spread 
on splinters of wood, tied together for the 
purpose, over a slow fire; and, while they 
are drying, the juice which ran out while 
they were cooking in the tub, is rubbed 
over them. After two or three days drying, 
they will be in a condition to be kept for 
several years. They are very palatable, 
especially when a few whortleberries are 
mixed with them. The above described 
method of cooking berries, is far better than 
doing them in brass or copper kettles, as I 
have proved by repeated experiment. 


The Carriers cut off the heads of salmon, 
and throw them into the lake, where they 
permit them to remain a montli, or at least 
until the}' become putrified. They then take 
them out, and put them into a troug"h, made 
of bark, filled with water. Into this trough 
they put a sufficiency of heated stones, to 
make the water boil for a time, which will 
cause the oil to come out of the heads of 
the salmon, and rise to the top of the water. 
This they skim off, and put into bottles 
made of salmon skins; and they eat it with 
their berries. Its smell however is very dis- 
agreeable; and no people would think of 
eating it excepting the Carriers. 

The Indians are not regular in their meals ; 
and they will eat a little, half a dozen times 
in a day, if they have food at hand. But 
they are not great eaters; and thej often 
subsist for a great length of time, upon a 
very little food. When they choose, how- 
ever, and in a particular manner, sometimes 
at feasts, they will gorge down an incredible 
quantity. They do not drink largely, ex- 
cepting the Carriers, who live upon dry fish. 
They will sometimes swallow, at one draught, 
three pints, or two quarts. When they can 
procure food that is palatable, they will 
eat in the same proportion. No favour 
which can be bestowed upon them is so grate- 
fully received, as the means of making a 
good meal. 

From the month of June, until the latter 


end of September, all animals have but little 
fur ; and therefore, at this season^ the Indians 
do not hunt them much. The greater part 
of the Indians, on the east side of the Rocky 
Mountain, now take the beaver in steel traps, 
which we sell them; frequently thej'^ shoot 
them, with fire arms; and sometimes they 
make holes through their lodges or huts, 
and then spear them. Otters they take in 
the same manner as beavers. The lynx or 
cat, the}'^ take in snares. Foxes, fishers, 
martins, minks, &c. they take in a spring 
trap. — The large animals are hunted chiefly 
for their flesh ; and are therefore killed, 
principally when they are the fattest, which 
most of them are in the fall, and some of 
them in the winter. Buffaloes, moose, red 
deers, bears, &c. are generally killed with fire 
arms. The Indians, however, in the plains, 
have other methods of killing the buffaloe. 

Sometimes the young men mount their 
horses, and pursue them and bring them 
down with their bows and arrows, which 
they find more convenient for this purpose 
than fire arms, as they can more easily 
take an arrow from the quiver, than load 
a musket, in such a situation. The following, 
is another method of taking the buffaloe. 
The Natives look out for a small grove of 
trees, surrounded by a plain. In this grove 
they make a yard, by falling small trees, 
and interweaving them with brush ; and they 
leave an opening into it about twenty feet 


broad. They select, for this purpose, a rising 
piece of ground, that the yard may not be 
seen at a distance. From each side of this 
opening, they fix two ranges of stakes, at 
about an angle of ninety degTees from each 
other, extending about two miles into the 
plains. These stakes rise about four feet 
above the ground, and are about forty feet 
apart. On the top of each stake, they put 
buff aloe dung, or tie a wisp of hay. After 
this preparation, when a herd of buffaloes is 
seen at no great distance off, thirty or iorty 
or more young men mount their racers, 
which are well trained to this business, and 
surround them; and little difficultj" is found 
in bringing them, within the range of the 
stakes. Indians are stationed by the side 
of some of these stakes, to keep them in 
motion, so that the buffaloes suppose them 
all to be human beings. The horsemen press 
forward by the sides of the herd and behind 
them, until, at length, with their tongues 
lolling from their mouths, they are brought 
to the entrance of the yard; and through 
it they rush without perceiving their danger, 
until they are shut in, to the number, often- 
times, of two or three hundred. When they 
find themselves enclosed, the Indians say, 
and I have frequently seen mj^self, that they 
begin to walk around the outside of the 
yard, in the direction of the apparent rev- 
olution of the sun, from east to west. Be- 
fore any of them are killed, the Indians go 


into the tent of the chief to smoke, which 
they denominate making the buffaloe smoke. 
They then go out to the yard, and kiU the 
buffaloes with bows and arrows; and there 
are Indians, who will send an arrow, entirely 
through one buffaloe, and kill, at the same 
time, a second. When the buffaloes are all 
killed and cut up, the tongues of all of them 
are taken to the tent of the chief; and with 
a part of them he makes a feast, and the 
remainder he allows his neighbours to keep. 
The meat and skins are then distributed 
among the people of the whole camp; and 
whether equally or not, no one will complain. 
Should any be displeased with their share, 
they will decamp, and go and join another 

The Natives generally cut up the body of 
an animal into eleven pieces, to prepare it 
for transportation to their tents, or to our 
forts. These pieces are the four limbs, the 
two sides of ribs, the two sinews on each 
side of the back bone, the brisket, the croup, 
and the back bone. Besides these, they save 
and use the tongue, heart, liver, paunch, 
and some part of the entrails. The head, 
they carry home, the meat which is on it 
they eat; and the brains they rub over the 
skin, in dressing it. — After they have taken 
all the meat off from the skin, they stretch 
it on a frame, and suffer it to dry. They 
next scrape o5f all the hair, and rub the 
brains of the animal over the skin, and 


then smoke it; after which the^^ soak it in 
wat6r, for about a day. They then take it 
out and wring it as dry as possible; and a 
woman takes hold of each end, and they 
hold it over a fire, frequently pulling it and 
changing its sides, until it is perfectly dvj. 
After this it is smoked with rotten wood, 
and it becomes fit for use. This last part 
of the process, is to prevent it from becom- 
ing hard after it has been wet. 

The Sauteux, who remain about the Lake 
of the Woods, now begin to plant Indian 
corn and potatoes, which grow well. The 
Mandans, also, along the Missouri River, 
cultivate the soil, and produce Indian corn, 
beans, pumpkins, tobacco, &c. As they do 
not understand curing their tobacco, it is of 
little use to them. The Sauteux, who live 
back from Mackana, raise large quantities of 
Indian corn, beans, &c. And also make 
much sugar, from the maple tree, which they 
dispose of to the North West Company, for 
cloth and other articles. As soon as the 
animals become scarce, that are hunted for 
their furs, the Natives must till the ground 
for subsistence, or live upon fish. This state 
of things already exists, in many places; 
and must, in all probability, be extended. 

The Indians sometimes take the largest 
fish, such as sturgeon, trout, and some 
white fish, with spears. At other times, they 
take their fish in drag-nets or scoop-nets. 
But the more general way of taking them 


is the following. They have nets, of from 
twenty to sixty fathoms, in length, which 
contain from twelve to forty meshes, of from 
two to seven inclies in depth. Upon lines, 
which are fixed upon each side of the net, 
for the purpose of strengthening it, they 
fasten, opposite to each other, a small stone 
and a wooden buoy, once in about the dis- 
tance of two fathoms. The net is carefully 
thrown into the water, and by means of the 
stones on the one side, and the buoys on the 
other, it becomes extended, to its full breadth. 
The ends of the net, which forms a semicircle, 
are secured by stones ; and it is visited every 
day, and taken out of the water every second 
day, to be cleaned and dried. This is a 
very easy operation, when the water is not 
frozen. But the ice which, at some places, 
acquires the thickness of five feet, renders 
the setting and taking out of the nets, a 
work of greater difficulty. They then cut 
holes, at the distance of thirty feet from 
each other, to the whole length of the net, 
one of which, is larger than the rest, being 
generally about four feet square, and is called 
the basin. Through these holes, by means 
of poles of a suitable length, the net is placed 
in and drawn out of the water. 

The Indians, throughout the whole country 
that I have visited, have no other animals 
domesticated, excepting the horse and the 
dog. Of the latter, they have several dif- 
ferent species. Some of them are very large 



and strong, and are employed in carrjdng' 
burdens ; while others, which are small, assist 
their masters in the chace.— All Indians are 
very fond of their hunting dogs. The people 
on the west side of the Kocky Mountain, 
appear to have the same affection for them, 
that they have for their children ; and they 
will discourse \^ith them, as if they were 
rational beings. They frequently call them 
their sons or daughters ; and w'hen describing 
an Indian, they will speak of him as father 
of a particular dog which belongs to him. 
When these dogs die, it ts not unusual to 
see their masters or mistresses place them 
on a pile of wood, and burn them in the 
same manner as they do the dead bodies 
of their relations ; and they appear to lament 
their deaths, by crying and howling, fully 
as much as if they were their kindred. Not- 
withstanding this affection, however, when 
they have nothing else with which to pur- 
chase articles which they want, they will 
sell their dogs. 

Those Indians, who live in a woody country, 
make no use of horses, but employ their large 
dogs, to assist in carrying their baggage 
from place to place. The load is placed 
near their shoulders, and some of these dogs, 
which are accustomed to it, will carry sixty 
or seventy pounds weight, the distance of 
twenty five or thirty miles in a day. 

The Assiniboins, Rapid Indians, Black feet 
and Mandans, together with all the other 


Indians who inhabit a plain country, ahvavs 
perform their journies on horse back. Indeed 
they seldom go even a short distance from 
their tents, in any other manner. They 
have some excellent horses, which will carry 
them a great distance in a day. They some- 
times go seventy miles, in twelve hours ; 
but forty or forty five miles is a common 
day's ride. They do not often use bridles, 
but guide their horses with halters, made 
of ropes, which are manufactured from the 
hair of the buffaloe, which are very strong 
and durable. On the back of the horse, 
they put a dressed buffaloe skin, on the top 
of which, they place a pad, from which are 
suspended stirrups, made of wood, and cov- 
ered with the skin of the testicles of the 

Some of these Indians have forty or fifty 
horses; and they attach a great value to 
those, that are distinguished for their speed. 
Whenever an Assiniboin sells a racer, he sepa- 
rates from him, in a most affectionate manner. 
Immediately before delivering him to the pur- 
chaser, he steps up to the favourite animal, 
and whispers in his ear, telling him not to 
be cast down or angry with his master for 
disposing of him to another, for, he adds, 
"you sliall not remain long where you are. 
I sold you to obtain certain articles, that I 
stood in great need of; but before many 
nights have passed, I will come and steal 
you away." And, unless great vigilance on 


the part of the purchaser prevent, he gener- 
ally fulfils his promise ; for they are the great- 
est horse thieves, perhaps upon the face of 
the earth. As there never falls much snow 
on the large plains, the horses have not much 
difficulty in finding a sufficiency of grass, on 
which to subsist, during the whole year ; and 
they are generally in good order. 

The Indians who reside about large lakes 
and rivers, voyage about in the summer 
season, in canoes, made of the bark of the 
birch or spruce fir tree; and two persons in 
one of them, will easily go fifty miles in a 
day. The paddles, with which the canoe is 
moved, are about five feet long, half of which 
length, is a blade, four inches wide. 

The Indians are good walkers; and will 
at sometimes, travel forty miles, in a day, 
with a pretty heavy load upon their backs. 

In the winter season, the Indians use snow 
shoes; and it would be impossible to travel 
without them. They are constructed in sev- 
eral different shapes ; but the following is the 
most common form. They take a piece of 
wood, and with a crooked knife, work it 
down, until it is about two inches wide, and 
an inch thick. These sticks are fastened to- 
gether at one end, which constitutes the hind 
part : they are then bent so as to be about 
a foot asunder in the middle, and to come 
nearly together forward. The space between 
these sticks, they fill up with a lace work of 
thongs of deer skin. Other snow shoes come 


quite to a point before, where thej*" are turned 
up ; the side pieces are from eighteen to 
twenty four inches apart, and, in the fall of 
the year, when the snow is light, they are 
seven feet in length. The inner side piece is 
nearly straight, and the outside is arching, 
and the extremities behind, come together in 
a point. The space between them, is worked 
as above mentioned. It is a little surpris- 
ing that the Indians, who are accustomed to 
them, will walk farther in a day on good 
snow shoes, than they could do on bare 
ground. But it is very fatiguing for those to 
walk on them, who are not accustomed to do 
it. The Indians are trained to this exercise 
from the age of four years. Even at that 
early age, they will go five or six miles in a 
day upon them, through the whole winter, 
as often as the Indians decamp, which, at 
sometimes, is every day, and at other times, 
once in eight or ten days. Indians, who 
live upon the chace, in a country where ani- 
mals are scarce, cannot remain long in a 
place; and those who hunt the beaver and 
some other animals, must continually shift 
their residence. 

Few of the Indians live in a state of celib- 
acy. They generally marry when they are 
between eighteen and twenty five years of age. 
Polygamy is allowed among all the tribes; 
but only a few persons among them, ha^e 
more than one wife, each. I knew, how- 
ever, a chief, among the Beaver Indians, 


who had eleven wives, and more than forty 

Their courtship and marriage are con- 
ducted in the following manner. A young 
man who is desirous of taking a wife, looks 
around among the young women of his ac- 
quaintance, to find one that pleases his fancy. 
Having thus singled out one, to her he makes 
known his intentions ; and if his addresses arc 
favourably received, he visits her, in the night 
season, by crawling softly into the tent where 
she lodges, and where she is expecting him, 
after the other inhabitants of the lodge are 
asleep. Here they pass the night, by con- 
versing in a whisper, lest they should be 
heard by the rest of the family, who all oc- 
cupy the same apartment. As the morning 
light approaches, he withdraws in the same 
silent manner, in which he came. These 
nocturnal visits are kept up for several 
months; or, until the young couple think 
that they should be happy, in passing their 
days together. The girl then proposes the 
subject to her mother, and she converses with 
the father in regard to the intended , match. 
If he give his consent, and the mother 
agree with him in opinion, she will direct her 
daughter to invite her suitor to come and 
remain with them. It is now only, that they 
cohabit ; and whatever the young man kills, 
Ke brings home and presents it to the father 
of his wife. In this way he lives, during a 
year or more, without having any property 


that he can call his own. After hi-s wife has 
a child, she calls her husband by no other 
name but the father of her son or daughter. 
And now he is at liberty to leave the tent 
of his wife's father, if he pleases. All the 
Indians on the east side of the rocky moun- 
tain, think it very indecent for a father or 
mother in law, to speak to, or look in the 
face of a son or daughter in law; and they 
never do either unless they are very much 
intoxicated. The reason which they give for 
this custom, when questioned on the subject 
is, the peculiar intercourse which this person 
has had with their child. 

When two young persons of different sexes, 
have an affection for each other, and wish 
to be connected in marriage, to which the 
father of the girl will not consent, they fre- 
quently leave the tents of their parents, and 
go and join some distant band of Indians. 
They are, however, ' often pursued, by the 
father of the young woman ; and should he 
overtake them, he will bring his daughter 
back, and keep a strict watch over her con- 
duct, to prevent all intercourse between her 
and her suitor. All neighbouring tribes fre- 
quently intermarry. 

Chastity in young women, is considered as 
a virtue, by the Indians, gpnerall}', on the 
east side of the Rocky Mountain ; and many 
mothers, among some tribes are so particu- 
lar, that they never allow their daughters, 
who have arrived at a certain age, to go 


from home alone, but always send some per- 
son with them, as a protector. Chastity 
in married persons is universally regarded as 
a virtue; and the want of it in a woman, 
is frequently the cause of her being rejected 
by her husband. A separation, also, at some 
times, takes place, on account of the slothful- 
ness of the woman. When such an event 
does occur, all the children, if small, remain 
with their mother, but should they have sons, 
advanced beyond the period of childhood, 
they remain with their father. Their sepa- 
rations, however, are seldom lasting; and 
after a few days absence, the parties gener- 
ally have an inclination to return to each 
other. These separations commonly take 
place in obedience to the will of the husband, 
only because, possessing greater physical 
strength, he has more power to drive his 
wife from him, or to retain her with him, 
against her choice, than she has to treat 
him in a similar manner. 

The Indian women sit do^\Ti in a decent 
attitude, placing their knees close to each 
other. They are very particular, also, in 
regard to their behaviour, during their peri- 
odical illness. They then leave the tents 
where their families reside, and go and put 
up temporary ones, at a little distance from 
them, where they remain during the continu- 
ance of their illness. While they are there, 
the men will not deign to hold any con- 
versation with them ; nor will they suffer 


them to make use of any article, which they 
expect to want the use of afterwards. This 
custom prevails among all the tribes, with 
whom I have been acquainted. The first 
time that the young women, among the 
Sauteux, Crees and some other tribes, experi- 
ence this illness, they run into the woods, 
and remain there for several days. They 
then return to their tents, and immediately 
proceed to cut and pile up a cord of wood, 
as high as their heads; after which all the 
women of the camp come and scramble for 
it, and carry it away, saying, that the per- 
son who cut the wood, is now a woman like 
themselves, and that they hope she "^ill prove 
to be industrious. 

The men among the Indians, are very sub- 
ject to be jealous of their wives. In their fits 
of jealousy, they often cut off all the hair 
from the heads of their wives, and, not un- 
frequently, cut off their noses, also; and 
should they not in the moment of passion 
have a knife at hand, they will snap it off 
at one bite, with their teeth. But such a 
circumstance does not ordinarily produce a 
separation between them. The man is satis- 
fied in thus revenging a supposed injury; 
and having destroyed the beauty of his wife, 
he concludes that he has secured her against 
all future solicitations to offend. 

All the Indians consider women as far In- 
feriour in every respect, to men ; and, among 
many tribes, they treat their wives much as 


they do their dogs. The men chastise their 
wives, frequently, with an axe, or with a 
large club; and in the presence of their hus- 
bands, the women dare not look a person in 
the face. When they decamp, the women 
transport the baggage ; and when they stop, 
while the men are quietly smoking their 
pipes, the women are required to pitch the 
tents, and to set the encampment in order. 
Among the Sauteux, Crees, Muscagoes and 
Assiniboins, however, the women are treated 
with more gentleness and respect. The hus- 
band shares the labour with his wife; and 
the women govern every thing in their tents, 
so that the husband presumes not to dispose 
of the most trifling article, without the con- 
sent of his wife. Among them the husband 
kills animals and generally brings the meat 
to his tent, where his wife prepares it for 
drying, and melts down the fat. She, also 
generally does the cooking; not, however, 
without the occasional assistance of her hus- 
band. He assists her, likewise, in taking- 
care of the children ; and, if his wife is too 
much loaded, in marching from one place of 
encampment to another, he will take one of 
the small children in addition to the load 
already on his own back. But the Indians, 
who inhabit the plains, never carry any 
thing on their backs, as they are well sup- 
plied with horses. 

The following ceremonies attend the birth 
of children. When the time of a woman ap- 


preaches, she erec-ts a small hut, at a little 
distance from the tent in which she usually 
lives; and at the time of labour, she sends 
an invitation to several neighbouring women, 
to come to her assistance. As soon as the 
child is born, it is washed in water, that 
had been previously prepared, by boiling in 
it a sweet scented root. The mother then 
orders a feast to be prepared. As soon as 
it is ready, the most aged woman of the 
company, takes a little out of the dish, and 
throws it into the fire, and then helps the 
whole company; not passing by the mother 
of the child, who is generally able to join 
them in the repast. The old lad}' of cere- 
monies, now offers up a short prayer to the 
Creator, or the Master of life, as they denom- 
inate him, in behalf of the new born babe, 
the substance of which is, that its life may be 
spared, and that it may gTOw ; and if a son, 
become a handsome young lad. 

A woman after child birth, remains in the 
separate dwelling which she had erected, for 
the space of about thirty days, during which 
time, no man would, on any account, enter 
the place of her residence. At the close of 
this period, she returns to her tent, and the 
father of the child prepares a feast to which 
all their neighbours are invited, the object of 
which as they say, is, to welcome the arrival 
of the little stranger, from a far country. 

Should a male child live, the parents dry 
the meat of the first animal that he kills, 


and carefully keep it, until they can collect 
a sufficiency of something to make a feast. 
They then invite their friends, of both sexes, 
to come and partake of the fruits of the 
hunt of their son ; for, they so call it, because 
the animal which he killed, they mix with 
what his parents have procured. Before any 
taste of the feast, one of the most respectable 
men present, takes a little out of the dish, 
and throws it into the fire; and then be- 
seeches the Great Spirit, to be kind to the 
lad, and to allow him to grow up, and to 
become a skilful hunter ; and to cause that 
when he goes to war, he may not behave 
like an old woman, but may return with the 
scalps of his enemies. 

Indian women appear to suffer less pain in 
child birth, than women in civilized countries. 
They rarely ever take any medicine, at the 
time of delivery, though they do, at times, 
drink water, in which the rattle of a rattle- 
snake has been boiled. In the season of 
labour, they place their knees upon the floor 
or ground, and lean forward over something, 
raised about two feet high. It is seldom 
more than a quarter or a half an hour, be- 
fore the child is born ; and, in a few days the 
mother is as active and vigorous as ever. 
The Indian women rarely ever die, at this 
critical period. 

Among the natives, those persons who are 
in any way deformed, or have any blemish 
about them, receive their name from this 


circumstance; while the others are named, 
after some beast or bird. No Indian will 
inform another, even if requested, what his 
own name is; though he will, if asked, give 
the name of other Indians. Of the reason of 
this reserve I am ignorant. 

It is not often that an Indian chastises 
his children ; and, indeed, it is not necessary, 
for they appear, in general, to have much 
affection and respect for their parents, and 
are therefore ready to obey them. A father 
never interferes in the bringing up of his 
daughter; but leaves her wholly to the care 
of her mother. When a son becomes of a 
suitable age, his father takes him with him in 
hunting, and learns him the different modes 
of taking animals. A son until he is married, 
considers himself as under his father's con- 
troul ; and even after that, he will gener- 
ally listen to any advice, which his father 
may give to him. The aged are commonly 
treated with much respect, which they con- 
sider themselves as entitled to claim. Should 
a young man behave disrespectfulh' toward 
an old man, the aged will refer him to his 
hoary head, and demand of him, if he be 
not ashamed to insult his grey hairs. In 
short, the aged of both sexes are generally 
treated with kindness ; and are not suffered 
to want any thing which they need, and which 
it is in the power of their relations to procure 
for them. 

The superior influence of the white people. 


where they have, for a considerable time, 
resided amoug the Indians, has very much 
diminished their respect for their own chiefs ; 
though tliere are some among them, wlio 
bear this title. The feasts are commonly 
made by the chiefs; and they, also, gener- 
ally make the harangues, in behalf of their 
bands, when they visit our forts. Their war 
chiefs have considerable influence over the 
young men, who accompany them, in their 
w^ar parties. 

Murder and theft are considered as crimes ; 
and the former is always punished with 
death, unless the murderer makes his escape, 
which is generally the case. Theft, also, is 
frequently punished in a similar manner. 
Sometimes, the party offended will be ap- 
peased, by the restoration of the stolen 
property, or of an equivalent. 

Generosity is among the Indian virtues. 
They are more ready, in proportion to their 
means, to assist a neighbour who may be in 
want, than the inhabitants, generally, of 
civilized countries. An Indian rarely kills an 
animal, without sending a part of it to a 
neighbour, if he has one near him. 

The private property of the Indians, con- 
sists of horses, dogs, tents, guns, and the 
utensils that belong to their tents. Some 
of these things, a little before their death, 
they bequeath to some of their friends; but 
all of their clothing, guns, powder horns, &c. 
are buried with them. Indeed, the Indians 


suffer nothing to remain in or about the 
tent of a person who has died, which he was 
accustomed to make use of while he was 
alive. They consider it a kind of sacrilege to 
mention the name of a person after he is 
dead ; and they never speak of him as dead, 
but as miserable, because, they say, he has 
taken a long journey alone, to the country, 
to which his deceased relations had gone be- 
fore him. 

Whenever any one is very sick, the whole of 
his family, and frequently all of his relations, 
will give some part of their clothing in sac- 
rifice to the devil or evil spirit, who, they 
suppose, is the cause of his illness. They, 
however, pray to the Good Spirit, or Master 
of life, for his recovery, as they believe that 
he has the power, if he choose to exercise it, 
of restoring him to health, notwithstanding 
the design which the evil spirit has, of tak- 
ing his life from him. 

All the Indians on the east side of the 
Rocky Mountain, burr their dead. After a 
person is dead, some of his deceased relatives 
cut off a lock of his hair, which they care- 
fully lay up; and they sometimes preserve 
such relicks, for a great number of years. 
Preparatory to its interment, they dress the 
corpse in as gay a manner as possible; and 
then wrap a blanket, over the whole. But 
they never sew or pin this blanket together, 
lest he should ])e unable to shake it off with 
ease, when he arrives in the other world. If 


it were fastened, they say, he might lie in it 
for several days, after his arrival in the land 
of his departed relations, before any one 
would meet with, and release him. The bot- 
tom and sides of the grave, which is two or 
three feet deep, are lined with the branches 
of trees. The corpse is then deposited in it ; 
and along with it, a pipe and tobacco, a dish 
or small kettle, an awl and sinews to repair 
his shoes, and a sufficiency of provisions, to 
support him for a few days, until he shall 
arrive in the land of plenty. They then 
cover the body with branches, and fill up the 
grave with earth ; and on the top of it, they 
place bark, to protect it from the rain or 
snow. They then clear off the bushes and 
grass, for eight or ten feet around the grave ; 
and every spring, the ground is thus renew, 
edly cleared, for several years after. About 
the grave, they set up a few stakes on which 
they hang strips of cloth, tobacco, «S:c. While 
the ceremonies of interment are performing, 
the relatives and friends of the deceased, 
make the most dismal moans and cries; 
and, to convince others of their grief, and, 
as they say, to ease their wounded hearts, 
some of them cut the hair of their heads 
short, or make incisions in their faces and 
arms, while others, to whom the deceased 
was more dear, will seize an arrow, in an 
agony of grief, and run it through the fleshy 
part of their thighs. 

The Indians generally appear to be more 


afflieted with the loss of an infant, helpless 
child, than of a person that has arrived to 
mature age; for the latter, they say, can 
provide for himself, in the country whither 
he has gone, while the former, is too young 
to depend upon himself. 

The men appear to be ashamed to mani- 
fest their grief at the loss of any one, how- 
ever dear he might have been to them; but 
the women give full vent to the feelings of 
nature. The fond mother, when she looses a 
young child, will pull out all the hair of her 
head ; cut her face, arms and legs, in a shock- 
ing manner ; burn all her clothes, excepting a 
few rags, which she has upon her; and, to 
render herself as WTCtched, as she expresses 
it, as her child, when the weather is stormy, 
she will stand for hours at a time, in the 
open air, and pitifully moan, in such lan- 
guage as this. "How wretched are j^ou, my 
child, to be torn from your friends while so 
young and helpless; and to be sent alone, 
into a strange country ! Who will now give 
you bread when you are hungry, and water, 
when you are thirsty, and make a covering 
for you to lie under when it rains or snows ! 
that I could once more press you, my dear 
child, to my troubled l^reast ! Of what use 
to me are all my medicines, since tliey could 
not save your life, and keep you a little longer 
with us ! " Then, in a rage of passion and of 
grief, she will rush into her tent, and seize 
her medicine bag, and throw it into the fire. 


All the Indian tribes are frequently at war 
with each other; and at some times, two 
tribes will league together, against one 
tribe or more. Those who reside in a woody 
country, do not as frequently wage war 
against their neighbours, as those who live 
in the large plains. The latter, general!}" 
engage in war, either offensive or defensive, 
at the opening of every spring. The summer 
is the only season of military operations, 
among the Indians ; though they frequently 
employ much time in the winter, in providing 
bows, arrows, guns and ammunition, with 
reference to a campaign, the ensuing season. 
Preparatory to hostilities, the chiefs, toward 
the close of winter, send young men with 
presents of tobacco, to the whole tribe, who 
are scattered over their territory, inviting 
them to meet, at a specified place, early in 
the spring, in general council. At this meet- 
ing, chiefs are appointed to conduct the war. 
The war pipe is then lighted up, and those 
who are willing to become soldiers in the 
campaign, smoke the pipe. None are com- 
pelled to enlist ; but, to excite in the young 
men a martial spirit, and to stimulate them 
to become his followers, the war chief makes 
a long harangue, in which he relates the in- 
juries, that the}' have received from their 
enemies. By a strong appeal to their savage 
feelings, he labours to convince them, that 
it will be sweet and manly, to revenge these 
insults ; and to return from the war, with the 


8C'al[)S of their enemies, and with their wives, 
and children, and horses, &e. 

A feast is then made, of which all partake, 
after which, the young- men dance, and sing 
war songs. After these ceremonies are ended, 
the chief or chiefs set out on the war ex- 
pedition, with as many as choose to follow 
them ; and as they leave the camp, the war 
party join in a war song. After their depar- 
ture, the old men and women and children 
pursue their usual occupations, to obtain a 
subsistence. Frequentlj", after the war party 
has been gone several days, some of the 
young men return, to join their relations or 
lovers. All the punishment to which they 
subject themselves is, to be called old women, 
by which is meant, cowards ; a charge which 
touches an Indian to the quick. 

War parties frequently travel four or five 
hundred miles, before they reach the territory 
of their enemies. On their way, they subsist 
upon animals which they kill, and fish which 
they take, from the lakes and rivers. These 
supplies are often very inadequate, and they 
suffer greatly by hunger. 

Having arrived near the place where they 
expect to find their enemies, the chiefs send 
out scouting parties, in order to ascertain 
their position, numbers and any other cir- 
cumstances w^hich it may be necessary for 
them to know, in order to form a plan for 
taking them by surprise. The Indians never 
attack their enemies in the open day; but 


fall upon them when asleep, near the ap- 
proach of the light of the morning. 

If they succeed in conquering their enemies, 
as is generally the case, since those who 
make the attack have greatly the advantage, 
they make terrible havoc among the men; 
but they labour to take as many of their 
women and children alive^ as they possibly 
can, in order to carry them home as slaves. 
They never torture these captives; but keep 
them to perform the menial service about 
their tents, or dispose of them to others. 
Sometimes they are adopted into the families 
of their enemies, in the place of children that 
they have lost; and then they are treated 
with all the tenderness and affection, which 
would be exercised toward a near relation. 

On their return from the expedition, the 
war party approach the tents of their band, 
with their faces blackened, and singing the 
war song. Their relations immediately make 
a feast, at which the warriours dance, with 
the scalps of their enemies which they have 
taken, in their hands; and recount the his- 
tory of the expedition, particularly relating 
the manner in which they fell upon their 
enemies, the number of men that they killed, 
and of slaves, horses, &c. which they have 
taken. They then distribute a part of the 
booty, among the aged chiefs, and most 
respectable men of the tribe, who remained 
at home. The young men, who deserted the 
party, are treated with contempt; and the 


young women, whose charms may have at- 
tracted them back, frequently compose songs 
of derision, in regard to their behaviour. 

The occasions of war among the Indians 
are various. Sometimes a person in one 
tribe has been murdered bj' a person be- 
longing to another tribe; sometimes the 
members of one tribe have hunted on the 
lands of another; and sometimes horses 
have been stolen. The Indians, who inhabit 
the large plains, who always go to war on 
horseback, frequently attack their neighbours 
merely to obtain, by this means, horses and 
slaves. It is not uncommon, also, for the 
Natives, when they lose a respected chief, 
or any other person generally beloved, either 
by an ordinary or a violent death, to form 
a war party, for the purpose of killing one 
person or more, of a neighbouring tribe ; and 
the case is the same, whether this tribe be 
at peace with them, or not. This slaughter, 
they say, enables them to calm their grief, 
and sets their hearts at rest, as blood has 
thus been offered to the manes of their de- 
parted friend. 

A person appointed to head a war party, 
is called a chief, or 0-ke-maw. He must 
have given distinguished proof of his bravery, 
prudence and cunning, in former war ex- 
peditions, in order that he should be con- 
sidered as qualified to fill this post. Great 
skill, in coming upon an enemy by surprise, 
as on this circumstance the success of an 


attack depends, is considered as the first req- 
uisite in a military leader. It is considered 
necessary, also, that he should be well ac- 
quainted with the situation of the territories 
of the enemy, and with the course leading to 
them, in which provisions can most easily be 
obtained. A war party sometimes consists 
of several hundreds; but frequently it does 
not amount to more than twenty. The war 
chief has no authority over his followers, 
but his advice is generally respected and fol- 

It is not often that two tribes, who have 
been in the habit of carrying on war against 
each other, formally enter into terms of 
peace. When such an event does take place, 
the following circumstances attend it. One 
chief or more, and several young men of his 
tribe, go with their pipe of peace, to find 
■ their enemies; and on their arrival among 
them, they express a desire to hold a council 
with them. Upon this, all the elders of the 
tribe visited are called together; and the 
chief, who is an ambassadour for peace, 
makes known his business, and strives to 
convince his enemies, that it will be for their 
advantage to live on amicable terms with 
his tribe. 

Should the terms of peace be agreed on, 
the parties smoke in each ether's pipes, after 
which a feast is prepared; and when that is 
concluded, the remainder of the night is spent 
in singing and dancing. — But should the 


embassy be unsuccessful, the chief, with his 
attendants, will return, and make, report of 
his proceedings to his own tribe; and those 
of them who are able and willing to bear 
arms, will immediately, though as secretly as 
possible, commence making preparations for 
a campaign, the ensuing spring. The points 
of the arrows, which the Indians use in at- 
tacking their enemies, are sometimes dipped 
in a poisonous liquid which they extract 
from certain roots. 

All the Indians spend much of their time 
in some kind of amusement. The inhabi- 
tants of the plains, generally, and of New 
Caledonia, live in large bands ; and are much 
more addicted to a usements, than the in- 
habitants of woody countries who are more 
scattered. Every tribe has amusements pe- 
culiar to itself; but some plays are com- 
mon to all, who reside on the east side of 
the Rocky Mountain. Tlie Assiniboins, as 
well as all the other Indians in the plains, 
spend much of their time about their horses, 
and are fond of trying their speed. Their 
youth, fiom the age of four or five to that 
of eighteen or twenty years, pass nearly 
half of their time in shooting arrows at a 
mark; and to render this employment more 
interesting, they always have something at 
stake, which is generally nothing more than 
an arrow, or something of small value. From 
so early and constant a practice, they become, 
at length, the best marksmen, perhaps, in 


the world. Many of them, at the distance 
of eight or ten rods, will throw an arrow 
with such precision, as twice out of three 
times, to hit a mark of the size of a dollar. 
The young men often amuse themselves, in 
the summer season, by a game of ball. 

What is denominated by the Indians, the 
dish game, is plaj^ed with peculiar interest, 
by all the tribes with whom I have been 
acquainted. Eight or ten little pieces of 
bones, or so many buttons, or some similar 
things, have a certain number of marks upon 
their different sides, so that they bear 
some resemblance to dice. These are put into 
a dish, which two persons shake alternately, 
and turn its contents on the ground. The 
marks on the sides of the bones, &c. which 
are uppermost, are then counted ; and, in a 
given number of throws, he who can count 
the greatest number of marks, wins whatever 
is at stake; for they never play, without 

The Sauteux and Crees are very fond of 
playing at draughts ; and they are consider- 
ably skilful, at this game. They have, also, 
many other playS and diversions, which 
enable them to pass away the greater part 
of their leisure time, gaily. The Indians, 
generally, appear cheerful and contented, 
when oppressed by no present difficulty or 
danger; for they take little thought for the 
things of the morrow. 

The Indians do not often dance, in the 


day time; but they frequently spend their 
long winter evenings, in this amusement, 
accompanied by singing; and tliey appear 
to enjoy themselves fully as well, on such 
occasions, as civilized people do, at their 
more refined assemblies. 

All the Natives are accustomed to make 
feasts, on various occasions, and particularly 
when any uncommon or important business 
is to be transacted. When a band of from 
thirty to fifty tents is collected, scarcely a 
day passes without an entertainment, made 
by some one of the number. 

When a chief proposes to make a feast, he 
invites such guests as he pleases, by sending 
to them quills, or small pieces of wood. 
Every person, who attends, brings with him 
a dish and a knife. The chief generally re- 
ceives his guests, standing, but oftentimes, 
sitting ; and a person who assists him, seats 
them, according to their ages or respect- 
ability, the most honourable place being 
next to the chief. After having made a divi- 
sion of what had been provided, into a num- 
ber of parts, equal to the number of persons 
present, the chief lights his pipe, and smokes 
a few whiffs himself; and he then presents 
the stem toward the sun, as if offering it 
to that luminary, and to the earth, and 
then to his deceased relations, pointing it 
toward the fire. These ceremonies being over, 
he presents it successively to each person 
present, who smokes a few whiffs in his turn. 


A small quantity' of meat or drink is then 
sacrificed, by throwing it into the fire, or 
on the earth, and the provisions are served 
round. While the company are partaking of 
them, the chief sings, and accompanies his 
song, by the che-che-quy or tambourin. The 
person who devours his portion the soonest, 
is considered as deserving applause. If any 
cannot eat all that is set before him, as cus- 
tom does not allow him to leave any thing, 
he endeavours, by the promise of a reward 
of tobacco or ammunition, to prevail upon 
his friends to assist him. These substitutes, 
it is frequently dilficult to procure, as the 
food provided on these occasions, is gener- 
ally much more than is necessary to satisfy 
the calls of nature. At some of their feasts, 
a more rational custom prevails, of permit- 
ting the guests to carry away what they do 
not wish to eat, of their portions. The meat 
which is generally eaten on these occasions, 
is that of the beaver; and the bones of this 
animal, which are extremely hard, that re- 
main after the feast, are burned, lest the 
dogs, by attempting to break them, should 
injure their teeth. 

The public feasts are conducted in the 
same manner, but with additional ceremony. 
Several chiefs unite in preparing a suitable 
place, and in collecting sufficient provisions, 
for the accommodation of a numerous assem- 
blage. To provide a place, poles are fixed 
obliquely into the ground, enclosing a suf- 


flcient space to hold several hundred, and at 
times, nearly a thousand people. On these 
posle, skins are laid, at the height of twelve 
or fifteen feet, thus forming a spacious court, 
or tent. The provisions consist both of dried 
and of fresh meat, as it would not be prac- 
ticable to prepare a sufficient quantity of 
fresh meat, for such a multitude, which, 
however, consists only of men. At these 
feasts, the guests converse only on elevated 
topics, such as the public interests of the 
tribe, and the noble exploits of their pro- 
genitors, that they may infuse a publick and 
an heroic spirit, into their young men. Dan- 
cing always forms the concluding ceremony, 
at these festivals; and the women, who are 
not permitted to enter the place where they 
are celebrated, dance and sing around them, 
often keeping time with the music within. 

All the different tribes of Indians, on the 
east side of the Rocky Mountain, believe in 
the existence of one Supreme Being, the 
creator and governour of the world, whom 
they call Kitch-e-mon-e-too, or the Great 
Spirit; and to him they ascribe every per- 
fection. They consider him as the authour 
of all good, and as too benevolent to inflict 
any evil upon his creatures. The}' render him 
little worship ; but occasionally supplicate of 
him success in their important undertak- 
ings, and very rarely, render him some sacri- 
fices, consisting of some part of their prop- 


They, also, believe in the existence of a 
bad spirit, whom they call Much-e-mon-e-too, 
to whom they ascribe great power, and who, 
they believe is the authour of all evils, by 
which mankind are afflicted. To him, there- 
fore, in order to obtain deliverance from 
evils which they either experience or fear, 
they offer many, and sometimes expensive, 
sacrifices. They consider him as ever em- 
ployed, in plotting against their peace and 
safety; and they hope, by such means, to 
appease his anger. 

The}'^, also, believe that there are good 
and bad spirits, of an inferiour order, who 
are superiour to men in the scale of existence, 
and who have allotted spheres of action, in 
which they are contributing to the happiness 
or misery of mankind. These beings they 
suppose preside over all the extraordinary 
productions of nature, such as large lakes, 
rivers and mountains, and spacious caverns, 
&c. and likewise over the beasts, birds, fishes, 
vegetables, and stones, that exceed the rest 
of their species in size, or in any other re- 
markable quality. On this account, they pay 
to all these objects, some kind of adoration. 

They, also, believe in a future state of 
existence. Those who, while in the present 
world, have, according to their ideas of right 
and wrong, led a good life, will, at death 
immediately enter on another and a better 
state of existence, where they will meet their 
departed relatives and friends, who will 


welcome them in the most affectionate manner, 
to their happy abode. In the future world, 
they believe that they shall possess bodies 
more beautiful and healthy and vigourous, 
than those which they animated on earth; 
and that they shall be much more happy, 
than they were in the present life, since the 
country in which they will reside, abounds 
with all kinds of game, which they will be 
able to take, with little or no trouble, and 
supplies every gratification, in which they 
now delight, in perfection and without end. 

But those who lead wicked lives on earth, 
they suppose will, at death, be conveyed 
into the middle of an extensive swamp or 
marsh, where they will, for a considerable 
length of time, be doomed to wander about 
alone, in search of their deceased friends. 
After having suffered greatly, from hunger 
and cold, they suppose that they will, at 
length, arrive at the pleasant habitation of 
their departed relatives, and participate with 
them, in all its delights forever. 

The religious observances of the Indians, 
consist of prayers, of feasts, and of a sacrifice 
of some part of their property.— Their pray- 
ers, which are offered only on special oc- 
casions, are always, addressed to the Supreme 
Being, or Master of Life. Their religious 
festivals are attended with much serious cere- 
mony. They commence with opening the 
medicine bag, and displaying its contents, 
and with smokinji: out of the sacred stem. 


Almost everj' male Indian has a medicine bag, 
which is commonly made of leather, and is 
about two feet long, and a foot broad. The 
following articles are generally contained in 
this bag. The principal in importance is 
a small image, carved to resemble a bird, 
beast or human being, which they seem to 
consider as the peculiar residence of their tute- 
lary spirit. This image, they carefully wrap 
in down, around which a piece of birch bark 
is tied, and the whole is enclosed in several 
folds of red and blue cloth. Every Indian 
appears to have a reverence for the Image 
in his own medicine bag; but will often 
speak disrespectfully of one, belonging to 
another person. The next article in the 
bag, is the war cap of its owner, which is 
decorated with the plumes of scarce birds, 
and with the claws of the beaver, eagle, &c. 
It has also a quill or feather, suspended from 
it, for every enemy, whom jts owner has slain 
in battle. The other contents of the bag are 
a piece of tobacco, and some roots and other 
substances, which are supposed to possess 
valuable medicinal qualities. To the outside 
of the bag, the sacred stem is tied, which is 
generally about six feet long. This stem is 
used only for smoking on sacred occasions. 
This medicine bag is generally hung, in fair 
weather, on the limb of a tree, or on a stake, 
at a little distance from the tent; and an 
Indian would severely beat his wife, if she 
should presume to touch it. This is the 


only article which the men invariably carry 
themselves, when they are decamping. Many 
of them pretend, that by examining it, they 
can foretel future events. — The women, also, 
have their own medicine bag; but they are 
not considered as of a sacred character, and 
merely contain their own articles of medicine. 
— Smoking out of the sacred stem, is per- 
formed with numerous ceremonies, many of 
which are probably unmeaning. 

Some Indians make a promise to the 
Master of Life, that they will make a feast 
every spring during a certain number of suc- 
cessive years, if their lives are spared ; and 
they religiously fulfil such vows. 

Some of their feasts are designed to pro- 
pitiate the evil spirit, as are nearly all the 
sacrifices which they make of their property. 
Sometimes in an open enclosure, on the bank 
of a river or lake, they make large sacrifices 
of their property. They choose a conspicuous 
situation, that those who pass by, may 
be induced to make their offering. If any 
of the tribe that makes these offerings, or 
even a stranger who is passing these places, 
should be in urgent want of anything 
which has been deposited as an offering, he 
is allowed to take it, by replacing it with 
another article which he can spare, though 
of inferiour value; but to take wantonly any 
of those devoted articles, is considered as 

There are also certain large rocks and 


caves, which they never pass without leaving 
at them some trifling article; for they sup- 
pose that they are the habitations of 
some good or evil spirits. Indeed they 
think that almost every lake, river and 
mountain has its tutelary spirit, whom they 
attempt to propitiate, by some offering. 

All the Natives suppose the earth to be 
an extensive plain, and that it is always at 
rest ; and that the sun and moon and many 
of the stars continually revolve around it. 
The sun, they believe to be a large body 
of fire. To many of the stars they have 
given names, such as the morning star, the 
evening star, and the seven stars; and 
by their position in the heavens, they are 
able to determine the time of night. They, 
also, direct their course by them in travel- 
ling, in the night season. The stars which 
they have named, they perceive change their 
position continually in the heavens ; and they 
believe that, like the sun and the moon, they 
revolve around the earth. Of the motion of 
the other stars, they take no notice and con- 
sider them as stationary. The following is 
the manner in which they divide a day and 
night, or twenty four hours : from the first 
appearance of day light to sunrise, from this 
time till noon, from noon to sunset, from 
this to midnight, and from midnight to day 
break. They are ignorant of the number of 
days, which there are in a year; but reckon 
thirteen moons, to complete the four seasons. 


The following are the names of the four 
seasons, in the Cree tongue. Winter, A-pe- 
pook or Pepoon ; Spring, Me-is-ka-mick or 
Se-giim-uck ; Summer, Nic-pin ; Autumn, Tuck- 

The names, which they give to the moons 
that compose the year, are descriptive of 
the several seasons, and in Cree, are the 
following : 

May, I-ich-e Pes-im, Frog Moon. 

June, 0-pin-a-wa we Pes-im, the Moon in 
which birds begin to lay their eggs. 

July, 0-pus-ko we Pes-im, The Moon when 
birds cast their feathers. 

August, 0-pa-ko we Pes-im, The Moon when 
the young birds begin to fly. 

September, Wa-was-kis o Pes-im, The 
Moon when the moose cast their horns; or 
A-pin-nas-ko o Pes-im, The Moon when the 
leaves fall off from the trees. 

October, 0-no-chi-hit-to-wa o Pes-im, The 
rutting Moon ; or 0-ke-wa-ow o Pes-im, The 
Moon when the fowls go to the south. 

November, Ay-e-coop-ay o Pes-im, Hoar 
frost Moon. Kus-kut-te-no o Pes-im, Ice 

December, Pa-watch-e-can-a-nas o Pes-im, 
Whirlwind Moon. 

January, Kush-a-pa-was-ti-ca-num o Pes- 
im, Extreme cold Moon. 

February, Kee-chay o Pes-im, The Moon 
when small birds begin to chirp or sing; 
or Kich-ee o Pes-im, Big, or old Moon. 


March, Me-ke-su o Pes-im, Eagle Moon. 

April, Nis-ka o Pes-ini, Goose Moon, as at 
this season, these animals return from the 

The Indians compute the distance from 
one place to another, by the number of 
nights which they have passed, in perform- 
ing a journey from one to the other. 

All the Natives employ hieroglyphicks, 
for the purpose of conveying information 
to those who are distant from them ; and 
this mode of communication, is often of 
great service to them, as the following cir- 
cumstances will evince. Portions of each 
tribe, generally assemble at certain places, 
every year. Wlien they separate, they proceed 
in different directions; and at every place 
where they severally encamp, they fix a num- 
ber of sticks in the ground, leaning towards 
the place where they next intend to pitch 
their tents. If they have been successful in 
the chace, they paint or draw on a piece of 
bark, the number and kinds of animals which 
they may have killed, and hang the bark 
upon a stake. \Mien Indians who have been 
unsuccessful in regard to killing animals, fall 
upon these notices, they derive important 
advantages from them, as they are thus 
guided to the place, where they may prob- 
ably obtain a supply of food. Indeed, with- 
out some such regulation, the Natives would 
often be in great danger of perishing with 
hunger. On the piece of bark, containing 


information respecting their past success, and 
their future course, they leave, also, the date 
of their encampment, by painting the animal, 
or "whatever else it is that gives name to the 
then present Moon, or month, and by de- 
scribing the figure of the Moon at that par- 
ticular time. And so correct is this mode of 
conveying intelligence, that a person accus- 
tomed to it, mil generally ascertain, within 
from twelve to twenty four hours, the time 
designed to be specified. 

The Indians possess a quick perception, 
and strong curiosity, and a very retentive 
memory; and every circumstance which oc- 
curs, and the various objects which present 
themselves to their view, are noticed and rec- 
ollected. And, therefore, at the expiration 
of twenty years after they have passed only 
once through a country, to the distance of 
several hundred miles, they will return by the 
same way in which they came. Mountains, 
hills, prairies, lakes, valleys, remarkable rocks, 
&c. are the objects w-hich they especially 
notice, and the situation of which, they treas- 
ure up in their memories ; and by these they 
are enabled to follow a former track. Al- 
most an}'^ Indian, who has passed once 
through a country, is able to draw so correct 
a chart of it, with a piece of charcoal, on 
bark, that an entire stranger, by its assis- 
tance, would be able to direct his course t6 
a particular place, several hundred miles dis- 
tant, without varying a league from his 


object. — The Natives are never at a loss in re- 
gard to the different points of the compass, 
particularly in a woody country, as they well 
know, that on the north side of the trees, 
more moss is found, than on the other sides. 
The priest among the Indians, is also a 
physician and a conjurer or magician. — When 
he acts as priest, he presides at feasts and 
funerals. — In the capacity of physician, when 
sent for, he visits the sick and wounded, and 
prescribes medicines for their healing, and 
directs in their application, in doing which 
he goes through with many ceremonies, with 
great gTavity. If the patient is very ill, he 
attends him at least every morning, and 
sings and shakes his che-che-quy, for an hour 
or two, over his head, making an unpleasant 
noise, which, it would seem, must do injury 
to the sick person. These Indian physicians 
do at times, however, perform distinguished 
cures. Their medicines consist of the bark 
of particular trees, of roots and of herbs, 
used at some times in their simple state, and 
at others in a compounded form. For wounds 
and sores, they use, chiefly, decoctions of 
roots. The doctor is always well paid for 
his services, and his profession is the most 
lucrative of any among the Indians. — When 
he acts as conjurer, he shuts himself up in 
a small cabin, where he is completely con- 
cealed from the view, and where he remains 
silent, during ten or fifteen minutes. He 
then begins to sing, and to beat his drum, 


and continues to do so, for about half an 
hour. And then, if any one has a question 
to propose respecting futurity, he is ready 
to answer it, which, however, he will not do, 
without a trifling recompense. It is not un- 
common for events to take place, much as 
these conjurers predict ; but whether this is 
to be attributed to tlieir natural sagacity, 
or to accident, or to other circumstances, 
I pretend not to determine. 

A person who is desirous of becoming a 
physician or conjurer, is publickly initiated, 
with much mysterious ceremony. Among 
these ceremonies are the following. The old 
physicians prepare an entertainment for a 
certain number of people ; and for the young 
candidate, thej' have a peculiar mess, which 
consists of a bitch, boiled with her young in 
her. A part of this animal, he must eat ; and 
they suppose that it possesses the magical 
power, of inspiring him with a knowledge 
of the medicinal qualities of all kinds of 
barks, herbs, roots, &c. — A woman, who 
wishes to become a midwife, must not onlj' 
eat a part of the bitch, but must, also, 
partake of her puppies, and drink of the 
broth in which they were boiled ; and by 
this means, she gains, as is supposed, all 
the knowledge requisite to the practice of 
this difficult art. 

The Indian physicians never fail of leaving 
in the place where they collect the roots, 
herbs, &c. which they use as medicines, 


soino trifling- article, as a recompense to the 
guardian spirits, that preside over these 
substances, for what they have taken. An 
omission of this would, in their apprehension, 
destroy most, if not all the efficacy of their 

The Natives, in general, are very credu- 
lous and superstitious. . They believe that 
many of their own medicines, when properly 
applied, will effect almost any thing. They 
think, however, that we possess some, which, 
for certain purposes, are much more effica- 
cious than their own. All Indians are very 
desirous of having a numerous offspring ; and, 
therefore, those, whose wives are barren, will 
frequently apply to us for such a medicine 
as will cause them to become the mothers of 
children. — The young women, also, make use 
of a certain powder, of their own composi- 
tion, for the purpose of engaging or increas- 
ing the affections of their favourites, for 
them. By throwing this even upon a stran- 
ger, who is passing, they believe, it will cause 
him to be in love with them. In a word, 
they ascribe a power to this medicine, like 
that, which more refined imaginations have 
attributed to the arrows of Cupid. The 
young women, also, employ many other 
magical arts, to accomplish the same object. 
— A woman who is iond of her husband, and 
who supposes that he has little affection for 
her, will rub a certain medicine in the palm 
of her hand, as she is going to bed ; and 


after he falls asleep, she will lay her hand 
on his heart; and the medicinej she thinks, 
possesses the power of uniting their hearts 
together, and of causing their affection, ever 
afterward, to be reciprocal. 

The Indians have no professional mechan- 
icks among them. Every man is his own 
artificer, and is able to construct, the few 
domestick manufactured articles, which he 
uses. Some persons among them, more in- 
genious than the rest, are frequently applied 
to, to execute some things which require 
considerable skill, such as putting a stock 
to a gun; but they take no compensation, 
for such a service. Their bows and arrows 
are neatly constructed. In order to make 
their arrows round and straight and 
smooth, after they have been reduced nearly 
to their proper size with a knife, they use the 
following method. They take two pieces 
of wood, of suitable thickness, which are 
several inches long, and cut in each of them 
a straight channel, of the same size, and 
of such a shape, that, when both are placed 
together, they form a circular hole. Over this 
channel, they spread glue, and upon that 
they sprinkle sand ; and they repeat the 
operation, until a complete file is formed. 
The arrow is then placed in the channel, 
between the two pieces of wood, and is 
briskly passed backward and forward, until 
it is reduced to its proper size. Their pipes 
are made oi a soft stone. The bowl, into 


which the tobacco is put, is circular, and 
at the bottom it is flat, and much broader. 
These pipes are frequently carved, in a curi- 
ous manner. The pipe is connected with its 
stem by a chain, generally made of brass 
wire, which the Indians obtain from us, and 
which hangs loosely from one to the other. 
The stem is of wood, such as has a small 
pith; and as their sacred stems are about 
six feet in length, the manner in which they 
extract this pith, deserves to be mentioned. 
They use, for this purpose, a piece of sea- 
soned hard wood. It is sharpened to a 
point, at one end; and at a little distance 
from this, it is reduced to a smaller size, 
by a perpendicular cut around it, by which 
a kind of head or barb is formed. By 
pushing this in and drawing it out, the 
pith is gradually extracted. The wood which 
forms the handle to this barb, is reduced to 
a very small size, as fast only as is required 
by the length of the hole. Wooden dishes, 
they construct, with crooked knives. The 
women manifest much ingenuity and taste, 
in the work which they execute, with porcu- 
pine quills. The colour of these quills is 
various, beautiful and durable; and the art 
of dying them, is practised only by females. 
To colour black, they make use of a choco- 
late coloured stone, which they burn, and 
pound fine, and put into a vessel, with the 
bark of the hazel-nut tree. The vessel is 
then filled with water, and into it the quills 


are put, and the vessel is placed over a small 
fire, where the liquor in it is permitted to 
simmer, for two or three hours. The quills 
are then taken out, and put on a board, to 
dry, before a gentle fire. After they have 
been dried and rubbed over with bear's oil, 
they become of a beautiful shining black, 
and are fit for use. To dye red or yellow, 
they make use of certain roots, and the 
moss which they find, on a species of the 
fir tree. These are put, together with the 
quills, into a vessel, filled with water, made 
acid, by boiling currants or gooseberries, 
&c. in it. The vessel is then covered tight, 
and the liquid is made to simmer over the 
fire, for three or four hours, after which the 
quills are taken out and dried, and are fit 
for use. Feathers, they also dye in a simi- 
lar manner, and these colours never fade. 

Many of the Indians, particularly those 
on the west side of the Rocky Mountain, 
who have not procured steels from us, for 
the purpose of striking fire, produce it, by 
placing one end of a small dry stick against 
another piece of dry wood; and by rolling 
it briskly between their two hands, the fric- 
tion, in a short time communicates fire to 
dry hay or touchwood, placed around it. 

Among the Indians, there are poets, who 
are also musicians. The person who com- 
poses a song, does it by singing it over 
alone, in the air which he designs shall ac- 
company it; and he repeats this exercise, 


until he has committed both sufficiently to 
memory. After that, he frequently teaches 
it to others. Songs are frequently composed 
for particular occasions, such as feasts, &c. 
Among the Carriers, there are often several 
competitors for this honour; and he who 
composes the best song, is rewarded, while 
the unsuccessful poets are treated with deri- 
sion. The subjects of their songs are gener- 
ally love and war, though they have some 
which are ludicrous and obscene. They have 
a great variety of songs ; and I have known 
an Indian who could sing at least two hun- 
dred, and each song had its peculiar air. 
Female poets are not common among them. 
Some of the women, however, are excellent 

No two, of the fifteen tribes of Indians, 
with whom I have been acquainted, speak 
precisely the same language; but the lan- 
guages of nine of them only, seem to be 
radically different. There is only a variation 
of dialect among the Crees, Sauteux and 
Muscagoes. The same is true of the Chipe- 
wyans, Beaver Indians, Sicannies, Tacullies 
and Nateotetains. The language spoken by 
the Sauteux, Crees and Muscagoes is by far 
the most copious and manly ; but that used 
by the Assiniboins, is the most harmonious 
and elegant. 

Every tribe has its particular tract of 
country; and this is divided again, among 
the several families, which compose the tribe. 


Rivers, lakes and mountains, serve them as 
boundaries; and the limits of the territory 
which belongs to each family are as well 
known by the tribe, as the lines which sep- 
rate farms are, by the farmers, in the civil- 
ized world. The Indians who reside in the 
large plains, make no subdivisions of their 
territory; for the wealth of their country 
consists of buffaloes and wolves, which exist 
in plenty, everyw^here among them. But the 
case is otherwise, with the inhabitants of the 
woody countries. These people have nothing 
with which to purchase their necessaries, ex- 
cepting the skins of animals, which are valu- 
able for tlieir fur; and should they destroy 
all these animals in one season, they would 
cut off their means of subsistence. A pru- 
dent Indian, whose lands are not well stocked 
with animals, kills only what are absolutely 
necessary to procure such articles as he can- 
not well dispense with. 

The foregoing account of the Natives, hav- 
ing a principal reference to the tribes on the 
east side of the Rocky Mountain, it may be 
proper, in concluding it, to make a few gen- 
eral remarks on the country which they 

That part of it which lies between the 
44th and the 52d degrees of north latitude, 
is a plain or prairie country, almost wholly 
destitute of timber, of any kind. It is, in 
general, suflSciently dry for any kind of cul- 
tivation ; and is covered with grass, which 


commonly grows to the height of from six 
inches to a foot, though in some marshy 
places it is much higher. This grass fur- 
nishes food for innumerable herds of buf- 
faloes, which are constantly roving about, 
from place to place, followed by thousands 
of wolves, and many grey and black bears, 
that are always on the watch, for favourable 
opportunities to fall upon and devour them. 
The grey bear, on account of his strength 
and ferocity, may well be denominated the 
monarch of the forest ; and should he at any 
time find an hundred wolves or more, feed- 
ing on the carcase of the buffaloe, the sight 
of him would cause them all to retire, with 
all the humility and submission of conscious 
weakness, and he would be permitted to 
make his meal, at his leisure and in quiet- 

The country lying between the 52d and 
the 70th degree of north latitude, may be 
denominated mountainous. Between its ele- 
vated parts, however, there are valleys and 
plains, of considerable extent, and which are 
covered with timber, of a small growth, 
more than one fourth part of which is the 
spruce fir. The other kinds of timber are 
aspin, poplar, birch, hemlock, spruce, cedar, 
willowy and a little pine. Much of this coun- 
try, in its less elevated parts, is covered 
with large rocks and stones, with so thin 
a coat of earth upon them, that it could 
not be cultivated. I am of opinion, however, 


that one fourth, if not one third part, of 
the whole of this great extent of country, 
might be cultivated to advantage. The soil, 
in general, is tolerably good ; and, in many 
places, is not exceeded in richness, by any 
part of North America. I think it probable, 
that as much as one sixth part of the whole 
of this country, is covered with water. The 
great number of large lakes, which are scat- 
tered over it, and of noble streams, which 
pass through it, afford a water communi- 
cation, in almost every direction. 

As this country is so extensive, it is natu- 
ral to suppose, that the climate is various. 
In all parts it is considerabh- cold. In 
latitude 54® or 5o^ the mercury, for 
several successive days, in the month of 
January, is as low as 30 or 32 degrees be- 
low zero. There are not, however, more 
than ten or twelve days, during a winter, 
that are so severely cold. The summers are 
sufficiently warm and long, to bring most 
kinds of grain and vegetables to perfection. 
Indian corn will never ripen farther north, 
than about latitude 53*^. 

The following fact may be interesting to 
some persons, as perhaps no similar dis- 
covery has been made, equally far north. 
In the summer of 1816 there was found, on 
the margin of a small stream that falls into 
Peace River, in about the 56th degree of 
north latitude, and the 118th of west lon- 
gitude, a part of the thigh bone of a Mam- 


moth, which was about eighteen inches in 
length, and which weighed twenty eight 
pounds. During that summer, the waters 
rose very liigh, in all the streams in that 
region ; and when they subsided, the banks 
in many places, fell in. It was in such a 
place, that this bone was found. It was 
sent to Canada, and I believe, thence to 







Good Spirit Kitch-e-mon-e-too 

Evil Spirit Mutch-e-mon-e-too 

Man A-ye-nu 

Woman Es-qui 

Young man Os-kin-e-gew 

Young woman Os-kin-e-gis-qui 

Infant A-wa-sis 

Head Is-te-gwen 

Forehead Mis-kaw-tick 

Cheek Mon-o-wy 

Chin TA-lis-kun 

Hair Mis-te-ky-ah 

Eye Mis-kee-sick 

Nose Mis-kee-won 













Hands or fingers 












Spirit or soul 





Brother (elder) 

Sister (elder) 

Brother (younger) 

Sister (younger) 

Grand Father 

Grand Mother 






































Father in law 

Mother in law 

Brother in law 

Sister in law 




Old man 

Old woman 





Breech cloth 




Hat or cap 


Mittens (a pair) 




Ear knobs 



Pin (headed needle) 

































Is-te-goine Sa-bo-ne-gun 

















































Musk rat 

























White goose 
Grey goose 
Water hen 




White fish 


Fish (in general) 

Fish roes 

Fish scales 






Rattle snake 




Fire steel 

Fire wood 






Fish hook 












At-tick cum-miek 










Si-si-qua ke-na-bick 




Pe-wa-bisk Ap-pit 







Qua s-qui-pitch-e-gun 




Hoe Pe-mich-e chee-ki-e-gun 

Net I-ap-pee 

Tree (wood standing 

upright) • Mis-tick A-che-mu8-80 



Birch bark 


Touch wood 

Gun Flint 


Lea! ( of a tree ) 




Choke berries 















Moon (night sun) 








C hak-i s- say-e-gun 





















Tip-is-co pe-sim 












Day light 




Noon (half the day) 

Sun setting 
















To day 












A-be-tow Ke-se-cow 


A-be-tow Tip-is-cow 







Mis-si- wa-as-kee 







Ke-se-ta-ow, or Ke-jas- 

A-nouch ke-se-cow 






Grease or oil 

Marrow fat 



liOdge or tent 




Spoon or ladle 





Tea kettle 

Sack or bag 




Fort or house 







Cincture or belt 




Smoking bag 












A-me quen 





Se-sip as-kick 



















Portage sling 




Powder horn 

Shot bag 



Gun case 


Steel trap 


Grave yard 






Flour or bread 

Indian corn 





.Tea or medicine wa- 


Wild rice 

Glass or mirror 

General or great 











To-toos-A-bo pe-me 








Book or letter 





Weed for smoking 

Part (of a thing) 









\\Thite earth 

Bad man 
Good man 

Track (of the feet) 

Road or path 


Good weather 

Bad weather 






Mi sh -e- m j-e-gun 





















































Good natured 




Fat or fleshy 



















Na-ma mus-ca-wow 







Foolish _ 





























Wa-mis-t o-go-she- wock 

Equal or alike 


Far off 




Few or little 
































Too little 




Too much 











Good scented 



My own 

Your own 

His or her own 

Their own 

Our own 




I am angry 

I fear 

To rejoice 

To hear 

To see 

To smell 
To taste 
To feel 
To come in 
To sing 
To halloo 



Pake- wow 
































To whistle 

To weep 

To laugh 

To sigh 

To arrive 

To depart 

Assist me 

To beat 

To believe 

To rattle 

To suck 

To puke 

To carry 

I am cold 

To take courage 

To dance 

To jump 

To slide 

To run 

To walk 

To ride ( horseback ) 

To finish 

To starve 

To fall 

To strike fire 

To find 

To loose 

To paddle 

To give 

To take 

To hate 

To keep 

To know 





















Tay -tup-pew 















To leare 

To love 

To go to bed 

To arise from bed 

To sit down 

To get up 

To marry 

To play 

To make peace 

To make war 

To pray 

To take notice 

To respect 

To sail 

To steal 

To sleep 

To talk 

To lie 

To go 

To lend 

To groan 

To beat 

To cut 

To cover 

To dispute 

To give 

To do 

To tie 

To unite 

To sew 

To sit down 

To fall 

To work 




































To kill 

To sell 

To come 



By and bye 





How many 






Not yet 

Not at all 

Good for nothing 







Now and then 1 

Sometimes > 

Seldom J 

Thank you 

What is that? 

What now? 

Who is there? 


























Get out of the way 
What is your name? 
Where areyou going? 
I wish to depart 
Wliat do I hear? 

Will you trade? 



TA-ne-ta ke-we-to-tain 


Ka - qui - ka - pa - tum- 





















Ka-gate me-ta-tut 



Eleven ( and 



Me-ta-tut pa-uck o sawp 


Me-ta-tut ne-sho sawp 


Me-ta-tut nish-to sawp 


Me-ta-tut nay-o sawp 


Me-ta-tut nay-ah-nun o 



Me-ta-tut ne-co-twa-sick 

o sawp 


Me-ta-tut ta-boo-coop 

tah-to sawp 


Me-ta-tut i-a-na-na-ow 

tah-to sawp 



Ka-gate me-ta-tut tah- 

to sawp 



Twenty one 

Ne-sit-te-no pu-uck o 


Twenty two &c. 

Ne-sit-te-no ne-sho sawp 


Nish-to mit-te-no 


Nay-o niit-te-no 


Nay-ah-nun o mit-te-no 


Ne-co-twa-sick o tut -to 



Ta-boo-coop o tut -to 



I-a-na-na-ow o tut-to 



Ka-gilte me-ta-tut o 



Me-ta-tut -to mit-te-no 

One thousand 

Me-ta-tut o tut-to mit- 








Young man 



























Grand father 
Grand mother 












Grand child 





Ay- eye 

Old man 


Path or road 










Breech cloth 







Hat or cap 

Teh a 



















Frock or robe 


Goat or sheep 






















Musk rat 






Meat or flesh 















Water hen 






St argeon 


White fish 


Fish (in general) 


Fish roes 






Fire steel 


Wood or tree 














Canoe (bark) 


Canoe (wooden) 


Touch wood 


Gun flint 


Grass or hay 
















Moon (night sun) 

Cha-ol-cus sa 













Sun setting 










To day ' 




Tent or lodge 





Spoon or ladle 


Sack or bag 

Trunk or box 


Fort or house 


Cincture or belt 








Clum or Ton 
































Portage sling 




Powder horn 

Shot bag 


Gun case 

Steel trap 






Flour or bread 






Letter or book 









Wliite earth 

















































































Ned- do 





Few or little 

















I am angry 
To hear 
To see 
To smell 
To feel 
To eat 
To drink 
To sing 
To halloo 
To whistle 
To weep 
To laugh 
To arrive 
To depart 
Assist me 
To beat 
To suck 
To be cold 
To dance 
To walk 
It is done 
To starve 
To fall 
I will go 
Come with me 
To give 
To take 
To hate 
I do not know 
To keep 
To know 




































To love 

To lie down 

To arise from bed 

To sit down 

To be merry 

To paddle 

To steal 

To sleep 

Go away 

To talk 

To lie 


My own 

Your own 

Our own 

I or me 

Thou or thee 




Bye and bye 





How many 




Not yet 



Too little 

Qui-see or Kane-chee 












Se-ilt sun 

Ne-ne-ilt sun 

Wa-ne-ilt sun 


Ne or Ye 





Coo-la or Ate-sel 







Ah-ah or A-ma 






Too much Stan-clyne 
Where En-chay 
Yet Ka-cha 
I thank 3'ou Sa-na-chal-le-ah 
What is that? Tee 
What is the matter? Ta-how-cha 
Who is there? Te-ween-tal 
What is 3^our name? Ba-zee 
Where are you go- 
ing? Ne-cha-en-e-gal 
Let us depart Na-zo-tell 
Will you trade? Ba-che-o-kate 
WTience are you? Ne-cha-si-il-tal 
























0-un-na Clot-tay 


0-un-na Nong-ki 

&c. to 



Twenty one 

Not-won-ne-zy 0-at Clo 

Twenty two 

Not-won-ne-zy 0-at 


&c. to 












Tee-kal-ty-o-t A te-won- 









Na -ne-zy-o-ne-ze-ah 


La n-ne-zy-o-lan-ne-zy-o- 







Buffaloes are found in great numbers, in 
all of the plain or prairie countries, on both 
sides of the Rocky Mountain, as far north 
as about latitude fift}' six or seven. The 
bull is larger than an ox, has short black 
horns, and a beard under his chin; and his 
head is filled with a long, fine hair, which 
falls over his eyes, and gives him a frightful 
aspect. On his back is a bunch or excres- 
cence, commencing a little forward of his 
haunches, the highest part of which, is over 
his shoulders, and which terminates at the 
neck. His whole body is covered with a long 
hair or wool, of a dark brown colour, the 
whole of which, and particularly that wliich 
is on the fore part of the body, would an- 
swer well for manufacturing coarse cloths 


and blankets. The head of the buff aloe is 
larger than that of the bull, his neck is 
short, his breast is broad; and his body 
decreases towards the buttocks. He will 
generally flee, at the approach of a man, 
excepting the male, at the rutting season, 
when he becomes ferocious. 

The flesh of the buffaloe is excellent food ; 
the hide is applied to many important uses ; 
and the long soft hair, the natives put into 
their shoes, about their feet, which supplies 
the place of socks; and it is fully as warm. 
The speed of the buffaloe, is much the same 
as that of an ox ; and when he runs he in- 
clines his fore feet considerably on one side 
of his body, for a short distance, and then 
shifts them upon the other, and continues 
thus, alternately to change them. 

Those that remain in the country between 
the Sisiscatchwin and Peace rivers, are called 
the wood buffaloes, because they inhabit a 
woody country; and they are considerably 
smaller than those, which inhabit the plains. 
They are, also, more wild and difficult to 

The horses, v.-hich the Indians possess, 
came originally from Mexico, and are of the 
Spanish breed. Thej' are in general stout, 
and well built; and man}'- of them are of 
great speed. They are very serviceable to 
the Natives in the plain countries, are used 
to transport their property from place to 
place; and on them they run down and kill 


their game. These animals will subsist, dur- 
ing the winter months, on the grass which 
they find under the snow, which is seldom 
more than six inches deep, on the plains. 
There are but few horses to be found, farther 
north than latitude fifty four or five. 

There are three kinds of bears, the gTey, 
the brown or chocolate coloured, and those 
which are perfectly black. The gTey bear, 
which are by far the largest, are about the 
size of a common cow; and are remarkably 
strong built, and very ferocious. They at- 
tack human beings, as well as all kinds of 
beasts, that fall in their way; and in their 
terrible paws, the resistance, even of the 
male buffalo, weighing fourteen or fifteen 
hundred pounds, is utterly vain. Three or 
four of the Natives join together whenever 
they attempt to hunt them, and each man 
is well armed, with a musket and a long 

The grey bear differs but little in shape, 
from those of a smaller kind and of a differ- 
ent colour. Their heads are rather shorter, 
in proportion to their bodies, their noses 
are less pointed ;,and they are more stoutly 
built. Their colour is a beautiful lively sil- 
ver grey. Their flesh has not so good a 
flavour as that of tlie black bear, it being 
more rank. The Natives, formerly, made 
use of their skins for beds ; but now, they 
always exchange them with us, for blankets, 


The grey, in common with the other kinds 
of bears, pass the winter months, without 
taking any kind of nourishment. Their 
retreats are by the sides of the roots of 
large trees, that have fallen down, or 
in the caverns of rocks; and in some in- 
stances they dig holes, in the sides of hills. 
These habitations are enclosed on every side, 
with the branches of trees, filled in with moss, 
&c. so as completely to surround the animal, 
excepting his nose, where a small hole is 
left, to enable him to breathe fresh air. They 
leave these retreats, as soon as the warm 
weather comes on in the spring, when they 
are apparently as fat, as they were when 
they entered them, in the preceding autumn. 

This flesh has less substance, probably, 
as they loose most of it, soon after their 
egress; though they then devour, with an 
appetite rendered strong by a winter's ab- 
stinence, whatever comes in their way. Their 
food, however, at this season, is not so 
abundant as it is afterwards, as they general- 
ly live upon roots, and the different kinds 
of fruit. They eat, likewise, ants and honey, 
whenever they meet with that which is made 
by bees and wasps. They rarely eat animal 

The brown and black bear differ little, 
excepting in their colour. The hair of the 
former, is much finer than that of the latter. 
They usually flee from a human being. One, 
however, that has been wounded, or a female 


that has cubs, will attack a pursuer. The 
browu and the black bear, climb trees, which 
the grey, never does. Their flesh is not 
considered so pleasant food as that of the 
moose, buffaloe or deer; but their oil is 
highly valued by the Natives, as it consti- 
tutes an article at their feasts, and serves, 
also, to oil their bodies, and other things. 
Occasionally, a bear is found, the colour 
of which is like that of a white sheep, and 
the hair is much longer than that of the 
other kinds which have been mentioned ; 
though, in other respects, it differs not at all 
from the black bears. 

There are two kinds of wolves, one of 
which is rather larger than a stout dog, 
and the other is not more than half as 
large. Their legs are long, in proportion 
to their slender bodies. Their head&, also, 
are long; and their noses are sharply pointed. 
Their tails are long and bushy. The colour 
of the larger kind, is generally a light grey ; 
but some of them, are nearly white. The 
smaller kind are commonly a silver grey; 
but some of them are nearly black. They 
are all very voracious; but they never at- 
tack a human being, unless when suffering 
greatly from hunger. They display great 
ingenuity and cunning; generally, herd to- 
gether, especially in the winter season; and 
make a hideous noise, particularly when 
thirty or fort}' of them are employed in 
surrounding a herd of the buffaloe or deer, 


in order to drive them down a precipice. 
They frequently take this method to make 
these animals their prey; and, in order to 
carry a project of this kind into execution 
they form lines, by separating to a certain 
distance from each other, and frequently 
make noises, resembling the human voice; 
and they appear to act in concert, as regu- 
larly as the Indians themselves do, when they 
drive the buffaloes into their yards. 

The wolves know the effects of a discharge 
of a musket ; and when a hunter fires his gun 
at a buffaloe or deer, in a few minutes, from 
ten to twenty of them will rush to the spot 
whence the report proceeded ; and, at some 
times, they are so pinched with hunger, that 
while standing beside his game, it is with 
difficulty that the hunter preserves it from 
being devoured bj^ them. 

There are three sorts of foxes, which, 
however, differ only in their colour. The 
most common are of a j-ellowish red, some 
are of a beautiful silver grey, and some in the 
more northern latitudes, are almost black. 
The last, are by far the most valuable. 

The Indians have several kinds of dogs. 
Those which they make use of in hunting, 
are small, their ears stand erect ; and they 
are remarkable for their fidelity to their 
masters. — The}' now have a large breed 
among them, which were brought into their 
country from Newfoundland, by the English, 
when they first established themselves on 


Hudson's Bay; and from that place they 
have been spread into every part of the 
country, east of the Rocky Mountain. They 
are used only as beasts of burthen. In the 
summer season, they carry loads upon their 
backs ; and in the winter when there is snow, 
they draw them upon sledges. These sledges 
are made of two thin boards, turned up at 
the fore end, and joined closeh^ together, 
so that this vehicle is twelve or fourteen 
inches broad, and seven or eight feet in 
length. The collar, by which the dogs draw, 
is much like that with which a horse is usu- 
ally harnessed, in the civilized parts of the 
country. Their weiglit is, generally", from 
sixty to one hundred pounds. 

The cat or lynx, in its shape and nature 
resembles the domestic cat; but is much 
larger. It has long legs and a long body; 
but a very short tail. Its hair is exceeding- 
ly fine, considerably long, and of a lively 
and beautiful, silver gre^^ colour. When full 
gro^Ti, the cat will weigh thirty five or forty 
pounds; and when fat they are excellent 
food. They generally live on mice, the dead 
fish which they find along the rivers and 
lakes, and partridges and hares. In taking 
their prey, they manifest all the adroitness 
and activity of the domestic cat. In some 
years, these animals are very numerous; 
and, frequently, the following year, very few 
can be found. 

There are two species of the deer. One of 


these, denominated the jumping deer, is like 
those which are found in the northern parts 
of the United States; and none of them are 
found farther north than about latitude 
48° or 50°. The other kind is sometimes 
called the red deer or the elk. They are 
about the size of a horse; and their bodies, 
are shaped like those of the jumping deer. 
Their tails are remarkably short, being not 
more than three inches long. Their hair, 
which is three inches in length, is of a light 
grey colour, and is as coarse as that of the 
horse. The horns of these animals grow to 
a prodigious size, their extreme points are 
about six feet asunder; and they branch 
out before and behind, like those of the 
common deer. Their bodies are well pro- 
portioned, their air is noble; and, on the 
whole, they are the most majestick animal, 
that I have ever seen. They shed their horns, 
in the month of February or March ; and by 
August, the new ones are nearly at their 
full growth. Notwithstanding the size and 
strength of these animals, and the means 
of defence with which they are furnished, 
they are as timorous as a hare. Their skins 
are very useful, and will dress as well as 
that of a buck. They feed on grass and 
buds, and the twigs of trees. Their flesh 
is tender, and of a fine flavour. 

Tlie moose is, in size, next to the buffaloe, 
among the animals of the North West. The 
body is in shape, somewhat Kke that of 


an ox, raw boned, with high haunches; 
but its neck and head resemble those of a 
horse. The ears are large, like those of an 
ass. The horns are flat, and branched out 
only behind; and are shed ever}' yea.T. The 
feet resemble those of the deer, excepting 
that the^^ are much longer and broader ; and 
when it puts them on the ground, the hoofs 
separate, two or three inches. The head is 
about two feet long. Tho upper is much 
longer than the under lip of this animal; 
and the nostrils are so wide, that a man 
might thrust his hand into them, to a con- 
siderable distance. The colour of the moose 
is a liglit gTey, mixed with a deep red, and 
the hair is so elastic, that its shape cannot 
be altered by beating. The flesh of this 
animal is exceedingly good food, it being 
easy of digestion, and very nourishing, as 
well as very palatable. The nose and the 
upper lip, which is large, and loose from the 
gums, are esteemed a great delicacy; it is 
of a consistence between marrow and gristle, 
and when properly dressed, it is a rich and 
luxurious dish. The hide of this animal 
makes excellent leather, as it is thick and 
strong; and when dressed it is soft and pli- 
able. The pace of the moose, is a walk or 
trot ; and it is exceeded in swiftness, by few 
of its fellow tenants of the forest. It will, 
\\ith ease, trot over a fallen tree, of five 
feet in diameter. This animal is commonly 
found in low grounds, where it feeds on 


moss, and the buds of trees. The moose, 
generally, remains alone; though at some- 
times five or six of them are found together. 
Their senses of hearing and smelling are 
uncommonly acute; and, therefore the least 
noise made by a hunter, such as the rustling 
of dry leaves, or the breaking of a small 
branch, will be heard by this animal, at 
a great distance, and will alarm its fears. 
When put to flight, the moose does not like 
the deer and most other animals, run a 
little distance, and then stop, until a new 
appearance of danger; but, oftentimes, he 
will not make the least halt, until he has 
run ten or fifteen miles. No other animal 
that runs in the woods, is so difllcult of 

There are two kinds of the cariboo. The 
only difference between them is, that the 
one is about twice as large as the other, 
and the hair of the smaller, is of a much 
lighter colour. The larger, will weigh nearly 
as much as the elk ; but, in shape and the 
colour of the hair, it more nearly'- resembles 
the moose; and like this animal it feeds 
only on moss, and the buds of trees. The 
horns are round, like those of the elk ; but 
they approach nearer to each other, at the 
extremities, and bend more over the face, 
than those of either the moose or the elk. 
The gait of this animal is much the same 
as that of the moose, and it is almost as 
difficult of approach. 


The flesh is equally good for food ; and 
the tongue, particularly, the Natives con- 
sider as one of the greatest dainties, which 
their country affords. The skin, being- 
smooth and free from veins, makes the finest 
of leather; and of it, excellent leggins and 
shirts are made. The Indians attach great 
value also to the dung of the cariboo, of 
which they make, what they consider, a 
delicious broth. They make use of the lower 
bone of the leg of this animal, in the place 
of a tanner's scraping knife, to separate the 
hair from skins. 

There are two kinds of antelope, which 
differ only in size, and in the colour of their 
tails, which are about two inches long. The 
colour of these animals is a light grey or 
mouse colour, with liere and there a spot 
of white. The tail of the larger, is of the 
same colour as the body, while that of the 
smaller, is white. The larger, is about the 
size of the jumping deer, which animal it, 
also, very much resembles, in shape. The 
smaller, will weigh about as much as a sheep ; 
and the flesh resembles mutton, in its taste. 
These animals herd together, like the deer, 
and alwaj's remain in an open country ; and 
their speed is little inferiour to that of the 
horse. They are verj^ timorous, and as 
soon as they perceive a human being, they 
run off to a considerable distance, but soon 
make a halt ; and, if the person hides him- 
self, they will soon return, near to the spot 


where they had seen the object which alarmed 
them. It is thus that the Natives manage, 
in hunting them. Their skin is thin, and will 
dress equally well with that of the chamois; 
and the leather is very suitable for leggins 
and shirts for the Natives, during the summer 
months. The males have horns, resembling 
those of the deer, excepting that they are 

The carcajou or wolverine, in shape and 
the colour of the hair, gTeatly resembles 
the skunk : but it is nearly twice as large. 
The hair of the carcajou is about the same 
length as that of a bear : and its colour 
is black, excepting a narrow strip of white, 
on the rump. The tail is about six inches 
long, and is verj bushy. This animal is 
remarkably strong built, for its size: and is 
extremely voracious. He feeds on dead fish, 
which he finds along the shores of the rivers 
and lakes : and on mice, hares, &c. He is 
often found about the places where human 
beings have been interred ; and, if they have 
not been buried deep in the earth, he will 
take them up, and feed on their carcases. 
On this account, the Natives never feed on 
the flesh of this animal, though it has an 
excellent flavour, ^^^len he falls upon a large 
animal, that has been killed and cut up and 
left by the hunter, he will, within a very short 
time, remove the whole of it to a consider- 
able distance, and strive to hide it under the 
grass, or the branches of trees. 


The skunk differs not at all from the same 
animal, as it is found in most parts of the 
United States : and it is too well known to 
need a description. 

The porcupine, in shape, and size, differs 
but little from the skunk. Its tail is much 
shorter, and has little hair on it. The body 
is covered with hair of a dark brown colour, 
about four inches in length. This hair is 
interspersed with quills, about the size of a 
straw, that are white, with black ends, sharp- 
I3' pointed : and for about half an inch from 
the end, they are covered with a kind of 
beard, which renders it very difficult to ex- 
tract them from any soft substance which 
they have entered. These quills are merely 
defensive weapons : for it is not true, though 
it has by some been asserted, that they can, 
at pleasure, eject them from their bodies. 
They are an inoffensive animal, move very 
slowly ; and when overtaken by man or 
beast, they place their heads and their legs 
under their bodies, and place all their re- 
liance on their quills, for protection. The 
Indian women highly value these quills, 
wdiich they die of different colours, and use 
for garnishing their shoes, leggins, &c. They 
also hold their flesh in high estimation, as 
an article of food. 

There is a small animal, found only on 
the Rocky Mountain, denominated, by the 
Natives, Quis-qui-su, or whistlers, from the 
noise which they frequently make, and alwaj^s 


when surprised, strongly resembling- the noise 
made by a person in whistling. They are 
about the size of a badger, are covered with 
a beautiful long silver grey hair, and have 
long bushy tails. They burrow in the sides 
of the mountain, and feed on roots and 
herbs. Their flesh is very delicious food. 
They generally produce . two young at a 
time; and sit upon their hind feet when they 
give them suck. The skins of these animals 
are very useful to the Natives, for clothing- 
They dress them, with the hair on ; and sew 
a sufficient number of them together, to make 
a garment, as large as a blanket, which they 
wrap around their bodies. 

The racoon is an animal never found 
farther north, than about latitude forty 
eight. It is considerably smaller than a 
beaver, with legs and feet resembling this 
animal. The legs are short in proportion 
to the body, which is like that of a badger. 
It has a head like that of a fox; but with 
ears shorter, rounder, and more naked. The 
hair is thick, long, soft and black at the 
ends, like that of a fox. On the face there 
is a broad stripe, that runs across it, which 
includes the eyes, which are large. The tail 
is long and round, with annular stripes 
upon it, like those of a cat. The feet have 
five slender toes, armed with sharp claws, 
by which it is enabled to climb trees. It 
feeds itself with its fore feet, as with hands. 
The flesh of this animal is very good, in the 


luonths of September and October, when 
fruit and nuts, on which it Hkes to feed, 
are found in plenty. 

The martin is some larger than a squirrel, 
which it resembles in shape, excepting that 
its legs and claws are considerably shorter. 
In the darkness of the night, the eyes have 
a shining appearance, like those of a cat. 
It has short ears, which are of a roundish 
shape. The whole body is covered with a 
thick fur, which in a mild climate, is of a 
yellowish colour; but in the colder regions 
of the north, it becomes of a dark brown, 
and, in some instances, is nearly black. The 
skins, which have this dark coloured fur, 
are much more valuable than the others. 
The tail is covered with long hair ; and under 
the neck, even of those of the darkest colour, 
there is a small spot, of a yellowish cast. 
The flesh of this animal has a rank, dis- 
agreeable taste; and is, therefore seldom 

The muskrat, which receives its name 
from the musk that it affords, resembles 
the beaver, in every respect excepting its 
size, which is little larger than the badger. 
It builds for itself a cabin in marshy places, 
at no great distance from some water : and 
feeds on roots, herbs, mice and fish, which 
it finds dead, on the margin of lakes and 
streams. In the spring, these animals leave 
their huts, as they are built in places so 
low, that they are generally, at that season, 


overflowed by water. During the summer 
months, they have no fixed residence : but 
are found in different places, among the 
grass. As the winter approaches, they erect 
new huts, in which they pass the winter. 
Carver is surely mistaken when he states, 
that they winter in hollow trees, without 
an}' sustenance, and that, in the summer, 
they feed on raspberries, strawberries and 
other kinds of fruit. 

In the North West country, there are only 
three kinds of squirrels, which are the red, 
the striped and the fljang. The black and 
gTey squirrel, seldom go farther north, than 
latitude forty five or six. 

The beaver has been so frequently and so 
minutely described, and his sagacity, in- 
genuity and industry are so well known, 
that a very particular account of this animal, 
in this place, would be superfluous. As some 
other animals, in the foregoing description, 
have been compared with the beaver, it may 
be necessary to state, that his weight is 
usually about sixty pounds: that his body 
is about four feet in length, and that his 
logs are short, particularly his fore-legs, 
which are not more than four or five inches 
in length. His fore feet are armed with 
claws, and his hind feet are furnished with 
a web or membrane between the toes, for the 
convenience of swimming, as he is an amphi- 
bious animal. His fore-teeth stand ob- 
liquely, projecting forward out of his mouth. 


and are broad, crooked and sharp. His 
incisors, or side teeth, are firmly set and 
sharp, and his grinders are very strong. By 
means of these teeth, he is able to cut down 
considerable trees, and to break the hardest 
substances. The ordinary colour of the 
beaver is brown, which becomes darker in 
the northern, and lighter in the more south- 
ern latitudes. The number of beavers in 
the North West country, is continuallj- di- 
minishing. The skins of this animal consti- 
tute, with the Natives, the principal article 
of trade; and the price of other things is 
computed, by comparing them with a beaver 

The otter is an amphibious animal, bear- 
ing some resemblance to the beaver, and yet 
in many respects, differing from it. His body 
is, in every part, less than that of the beaver, 
though it is nearly as long. His teeth are 
different, being in shape like those of a dog 
or wolf. The hair of the otter is not more 
than half the length of the beaver; and in 
some parts particularly under the neck, 
stomach and belly, is more greyish. This 
animal, when closely pursued, will not only 
defend himself; but he will attack dogs and 
even men. His food consists of roots and 
fish ; and his flesh tastes and smells of the 
latter, and is not very palatable food. 

The mink is of the otter kind, and sub- 
sists on similar food, and resembles this 
animal in its colour. In shape and size, 


it bears a strong resemblance to the martin; 
but its hair is much shorter. A musky scent 
proceeds from this animal. It is generally 
found along small rivers. 

The following catalogue of animals, will 
exhibit the comparative value of the furs, 
which are annually purchased and exported 
to the civilized parts of the world, by the 
North West Company. The animal is first 
mentioned, the skins of which will amount 
to the greatest sum ; and so on, in order, 
to the last, the skins of which, will amount 
to the smallest sum. — Beaver, otter, musk- 
rat, martin, bear, fox, lynx, fisher, mink, 
wolf, buffaloe. 

Tlie following catalogue will exhibit the 
comparative weight of the skins, of the differ- 
ent animals, which are annually purchased 
and exported, as above mentioned.— Beaver, 
martin, muskrat, bear, otter, wolf, buffaloe 
lynx, &c.